While I was round and exhausted with a baby in my belly, one of the greatest things that I actually managed to accomplish was getting my girls to help me out in the kitchen. I can’t even explain the relief that I felt when I empowered them to help with this most vital chore.
The other day while I was putting the baby down for a nap I came out half an hour later to a display on my counter of homemade pizza dough ready to be put in the oven. In fact, you can see some of her recent creations on my Instagram account. Even though this sometimes creates a much bigger mess for me to clean in the end it’s been so much fun bonding with my kids and teaching them these valuable skills.
Compare this with my love of making videos and you’ll see why I’m glad to share with you all the The Ben’s ™ Beginners Cooking Contest, a nationwide cooking video competition for kids that brings families together to cook a healthy meal.
According to University of Michigan’s Project EAT:
So what can you do to get your kids more interested in joining you in the kitchen? Here’s just a few ideas, please leave a comment and let me know what helps your family out!
10 tips for getting your kids involved in cooking
- Assign each child a specific day each week where they are responsible for cooking. The routine and structure will give them something to look forward to. Plus it’ll really help them to realize the important role that they play in the family.
- Look for inspiration in the things that you already do together. Next time you go to the library, pick a book that talks about food. Or if you’re watching a TV show together, notice if the characters are eating a meal together. Use these as discussion topics, ask your child if they would like to try to cook what So-and-so is cooking!
- Let them choose the recipe. Get a few cookbooks that you know are family friendly and let them decide what to make. At first don’t even dwell on whether it’s healthy, just let them pick what they want based off of the title, favorite ingredients or even just a pretty picture!
- Get kid friendly utensils, something little hands can hold comfortably. This will help them feel a little less overwhelmed and more at ease.
- Shop at the farmer’s market so they can handle the food before you buy it. They can even ask questions directly to the people who grow it, how cool is that? Many times our farmers will let us sample as well. This is all part of allowing the kids to feel empowered.
- Let them do as many age appropriate activities as possible, including cutting, measuring, mixing and the actual cooking. Let them crack the eggs, even if it means a little shell might get in there (that’s part of the charm!). Let them mix, even if it means there’s a little extra flour on the table. Although in the end we certainly want a delicious meal, this is more about the experience of just being in the kitchen. Don’t let fear of an imperfect dish ruin the experience.
- Let them be taste testers! Allow them to sample as you go and if they don’t like it let them decide how to correct it. This trial and error is crucial to figuring out how spices and seasoning effects the end taste.
- Watch videos that explain complicated concepts (what makes bread rise? why is soda fizzy?) that will intrigue them. Not only are they getting science lessons but it’ll trigger their curiosity to experiment with these foods so they can see the reactions first hand.
- Cooking is certainly a skill that requires utilizing all of your senses. Sure, the taste is a big component, but there’s so much more to it than that! The sound of water droplets hitting hot oil. Rub some fresh herbs between your fingers to bring out the fragrance and see how it smells. What about the way that raw spinach shrinks down before your eyes as it’s cooking?
- Let them know how proud you are of them. Give them positive feedback. Share their creations with other family members, friends or neighbors. Even if their muffins are a bit dry, be sure that they realize how much you appreciate the effort!
Are you ready to hit the kitchen? Let your kids get creative and share your end result with The Ben’s ™ Beginners Cooking Contest, and leave us a comment letting me know what other advice you have!
Cooking with your children makes for a great beginning! Visit
www.unclebens.com and click on The Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest page to learn more!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Uncle Ben’s. The opinions and text are all mine.