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 Kids in the Kitchen
IngredIents for success: InspIre a love of cookIng In your kIds wIth these creatIve tIps
By Sarah Lyons
Here are six creative ways to get your kids cooking:
◦ Build your own. Give kids the opportunity to make their own choices. Try having a taco or potato bar for dinner and offer a variety of toppings where kids build their own meal. This works especially well for toddlers who are not quite old enough to do a lot of cooking but still want to help in the kitchen. Other ideas may be building your own pizza, and making your own omelets or pancakes. These meals give kids the opportunity to sample fruit or vegetables they may not otherwise try, and use a little creativity as well.
◦ Grow your own. What better way to get kids to understand the process involved in growing and harvesting food than to plant a garden in your own backyard. Allow the kids to use their creativity to decide what foods your family would like to grow, plant them, care for them, and harvest them. You may need to make a trip to a local nursery to get a good idea of what will grow in your climate. Once they harvest their crop they can help plan meals where they’ll use the produce they’ve grown and sample it themselves. This is a great way to get kids to try vegetables. If you are short on yard space, look into container gardening for things that you can grow on decks or patios.
◦ A science experiment. Cooking is a great way
to teach kids about science. Baking ingredients need to be measured exactly for the recipe to come out as expected, where soups, casseroles, salads and other savory dishes are more forgiving when the ingredients are adjusted slightly. Allow kids to get creative with ingredients. Does this dish need more salt? More onion? More cheese? Older kids, with supervision, can be given the opportunity to experiment with tastes and ingredients and express their creativity. You also can teach kids about science by explaining what would happen if you forgot a baking ingredient like flour, baking powder or salt.
◦ Creative presentation. Kids who are particularly fond of visual art may enjoy creating an aesthetically pleasing dining experience even more than cooking. Kids can express their creativity
in the kitchen without even using their cooking skills. Setting the table, creating a centerpiece, or arranging food on a plate so that it looks as good as it tastes are all good creative tasks for kids.
◦ Make it a competition. Most kids enjoy a friendly competition and many also like watching cooking competitions on reality TV. You can bring this
idea into your home kitchen by creating your own cooking competition. Pick a theme and let the kids
continued on page 24
summer 2020 alaska parent 23
By Sarah Lyons
These days, many of us are spending more time in the kitchen. It’s also
an ideal time to teach kids a valuable
skill that will stay with them for the rest of
their lives: cooking. The good news? Kids that
are comfortable in the kitchen are usually more self-sufficient, eat healthier foods, have a wid- er palette, and are more open to trying new foods. More importantly, cooking with kids can be fun and enjoyable for both the children and adults – and create some of the fondest memories.

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