Today, October 24th is Food Day, and Food Day 2013 is challenging kids to get in the kitchen and learn how to cook. Here’s why kids get so much benefit from learning how to cook!
If you are a parent who wasn’t trained to cook, is intimidated by cooking, or has a limited repertoire in the kitchen, you know that this can be a significant obstacle to feeding your family. What happens to children when their parents don’t know how to cook? They may dine out more, eat more processed food, and are less likely to learn how to cook.
At one point or another, most kids are ready to experiment in the kitchen and this can be a gateway for parents to explore cooking too. There are several reasons why we need to let kids cook:
- It’s a science experiment. Transformation of ingredients happens right before your eyes! Many school-age kids are fascinated by science and experimentation.
- It’s hands-on learning at its best. Piaget, the famous child psychologist, believes that when children are able to dig in and do it, they learn and remember new concepts and skills better.
- When children learn a new task and succeed, their self-esteem builds. Cooking is a great way to let children experience success at their own hands.
- Cooking provides immediate feedback, and allows children the opportunity to figure out mistakes and correct them.
- Learning to cook is a continuum, building skill upon skill, and allowing for new skills once old skills have been mastered.
- A life skill is learned. All children and teens eventually become adults and will need (or want) to know how to cook, for themselves, others or their own family.
In Fearless Feeding, my co-authored book with Maryann Jacobsen, we talk quite a bit about getting kids involved in the kitchen. We even have a list of how parents can get kids involved at each stage of development, from stirring as a young toddler to making a meal for the family as a teen. We feel that cooking is such an important skill, that we devoted our recipes in the School-Age and Teen section of the book to recipes these age groups can make on their own.
Here’s one of my favorites, which my kids have been making for years:
Egg in a Hole
Glass with a large mouth (4 to 5-inch diameter) or biscuit cutter
1 slice of whole wheat bread (or other bread)
cooking spray, or oil
Make a hole in the center of the bread by pressing the glass opening onto the bread, creating a circle and a “frame.” Spray cooking spray (or oil) onto a pan or skillet and turn the burner on to medium heat. Butter both sides of the bread circle and place it on the hot skillet, alongside the frame. Crack the egg and place it inside the frame. Cook until the egg is set and the bread is browned; flip the whole thing, as well as the bread circle, and cook the other sides.
Makes one serving.
How do you get your kids in the kitchen to cook?