This post is sponsored by GLAD.
Cooking with kids can most definitely be FUN. But, like all things involving kids, you need to do some planning and adapting to make the whole experience fun. Right now, with everyone staying at home more, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about how to get your kids into the kitchen and having fun. So I’m here to help embrace our new normal and bring a little joy to your families day!
How to choose a recipe to cook with kids
This might seem simple, but the first thing that you need to do is choose a recipe that allows the kids to have fun, get involved and enjoy the process. Also, if you can choose an egg-free recipe, it’s even better because it doesn’t matter if they want a taste test along the way!
I find baking recipes are the most fun for starting to cook with your kids, because who doesn’t love a sweet treat? There are also lots of fun steps in baking, mixing, sifting, rolling out dough and cutting shapes. Then, you can even get creative and ice your creation.
Also, for little ones, try to choose a recipe (like the cookies at the bottom of this post) that is quick! If something is going to bake for ages, you will quickly lose their attention. So short, quick bakes are the most satisfying.
Tools for success
Get everything ready without the kids. It makes for a much more smooth and organised start to cooking.
Have the bowls, tools and other stuff you need ready to go from the outset. Grab the ingredients as well, so that there is just the measuring to do.
I like to cheat by rolling out cookie dough on GLAD Bake and Cooking Paper – as it is much easier than flouring your benchtop, and popping another sheet on top means that it won’t stick to your rolling pin.
For the icing, there is no need to have fancy piping bags, use GLAD SNAP LOCK Reseal Bags and snip off the corner! Then there is no fiddling with piping bags and tips, especially when you aren’t doing fancy icing.
Making a mess…and cleaning it up
If you were to look at stock photos online of people cooking with their kids, they are all dressed in white, smiling and have perfectly clean kitchens. The reality? Kids will make a mess. And they need to learn to clean that mess up!
You can, however, minimise the mess, as I said earlier, I roll my dough out on baking paper and put it on top as well, meaning that my rolling pin- doesn’t even really get dirty. And it minimises the flour that ends up all around the room.
For clean up, we have the dustpan and broom nearby and the mini vacuum cleaner charged and ready to go. Try to use mostly dishwasher safe bowls and tools and teach the kids to stack it as part of the process.
Letting go of perfection
There’s nothing that a dash of icing and a few sprinkles won’t fix!
When you cook with kids, things won’t be perfect. Cookies will be wonky, jelly might be a bit grainy and cakes might get overmixed.
But to be honest, the cooking process is the most fun part of the experience and the eating is just a bonus. Or that’s how I manage my expectations. It’s about having fun and making something together, both memories and a treat.
How to get the kids involved every step of the way
Kids are familiar with procedures (which is basically what a recipe is) because they are one of the earliest texts they start to learn. Even from a pre-reader stage, they can follow a procedure with pictures.
As my kids have gotten older, I try to get them reading through the recipe at the start, so that they know what we are doing.
Some of the most fun tasks are the messiest- cracking eggs, pouring milk, whisking wet and dry ingredients together, and pouring batter. The more involvement they have in these tasks, the more fun they will have and the more memorable it will be.
What to do while baking
Why not make a baking paper bag for gifting your cookies? It’s a quick folding exercise that can be stuck together with Sellotape for an easy way to drop some bickies off to the neighbours. And then you don’t have to worry about getting the container back!