Reading, math, and science, colors, textures, and tastes–cooking together with your child is multi-sensory fun that gives them much more than just good food to eat. Include your children in making family meals and see their confidence grow. Create some goodies for gifts and make snacks together and your children will learn about measuring, planning, and having patience while things cook. The more your children know about the food they eat and learn about cooking, the more adventurous they may be in what foods they will try!
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to cook with the young children in your life. Start a family tradition by making some delicious creations from kid-friendly cookbooks. The American Grandparents Association website, www.grandparents.com, recommends 12 cookbooks for kids and a grown-up helper. Here are a few:
“Pretend Soup” by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson. Mollie Katzen collaborated with her son’s pre-school teacher to come up with vegetarian recipes for young children that are easy to make and easy to eat. Each recipe has a fanciful name but not fancy ingredients. Pre-readers can follow along by looking at the illustrations.
“C is for Cooking: Recipes from the Street.” Favorite characters from Sesame Street give directions for making nutritious dishes like Big Bird’s ABC Chicken Noodle Soup and Cookie Monster’s Homemade Peanut Butter with recipes from guest chefs. Each recipe has at least one or two steps that a child can do on his or her own and activities to do while cooking.
“Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes” by Felicity Dahl. Learn to make Mr. Twit’s Beard, Lickable Wallpaper, and Hot Ice Cream You Can Eat on Cold Days. Recipes are all foods from Roald Dahl’s classic books including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.” Read a book, then cook together and bring the story to life!
“Kids’ Fun and Healthy Cookbook,” a DK book. This cookbook teaches basic cooking skills with step-by-step illustrated instructions. You’ll find recipes for Breakfast Crepes, Chicken Quesadillas, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Oven Fried Fish, and Ultimate Peanut Butter-Chocolate Squares as well as non-edible things to cook like homemade play dough and finger paint.