Once upon a time I tried to be a perfect mom. I was determined to do everything that amazing moms did, and that included cooking with kids. ALL of my kids. At once. The thing is that I had four kids ages 5 and under, and that included a baby strapped to me. I had clearly lost my mind!
My instinct was good that day. Cooking with your kids is important. It can also be HARD, but it doesn’t have to be! Don’t make the same mistakes I did. If you follow these tips you can make the adventure of cooking with kids fun instead of crazy.
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Cooking with Kids is Important
The reality is that kids who don’t learn how to cook become adults who have to Google “how to boil an egg”. They’re far more likely to rely on frozen meals and fast food whey they’re on their own. Plus, the research shows that getting kids in the kitchen helps them to eat a wider variety of foods (which is super important for their long term health). That’s why cooking with kids is so important!
The perfect time to start is when your kids are still little. If kids get in the habit of cooking at 2, 3, or 4, it’s going to be a lot easier than suddenly trying to convince a rather rebellious teen to join in. Cooking is even an amazing teaching tool for little ones. You can use it to practice counting, measuring, sorting, following directions, reading, and science. It’s even great for teaching positive character traits like listening, patience, and generosity. With all that, how could you not want to cook with your kids!
Make Cooking with Kids Easier
Even though cooking with kids is important and fun, it can also be chaotic and stressful. It doesn’t have to be, though. There are things you can do to make this adventure a bit easier.
- One on One: Try to keep it to one kid at a time in the kitchen. If you have just one little one you are set. Otherwise, have your kids trade days. Having just one kid to work with means you’ll have less little hands to monitor.
- Prepare in Advance: Just like everything else, advanced preparation will make things go smoother. How much you’ll need to prepare will vary depending on your child’s age. With a 2 year old, have most things ready and just let her pour and stir. A 4 year old can do much more of the work.
- Baby Steps: Have you ever heard the medical school mantra, “see one, do one, teach one”? Apply that here. First, have your child watch you demonstrate a skill. Then, help them to do it (which might even mean putting your hand on theirs and doing it with them like I am with my daughter in the picture below). Then, let them try it on their own.
- Start Small: Start with BASIC dishes that don’t require much skill. As your kids get better, build on those basics with increasingly difficult dishes.
No-Bake Dairy-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
No-bake dishes are a great introduction to cooking. They’re perfect for toddlers and preschoolers because:
- There is no risk of getting burned.
- They don’t usually require much (if any) chopping.
- There is a lot of pouring and stirring involved, which is great for developing brains.
This no-bake diary-free pumpkin cheesecake recipe is about as easy as they come. If you can measure, stir, and use a microwave, you can make it. Even better… It can be made free from most of the top 8 allergens! Below, you can see me making this exact recipe with the help of my 4 year old!
The first thing you need to do is make your crust. It’s just 3 ingredients. Gingersnap crumbs, melted butter or margarine, and brown sugar. Stir them together, grease a springform pan, and firmly press them in. A springform pan really is best and will make serving much easier, but in a pinch a basic 8×8 baking pan will do. If you want to keep this 100% no-bake you can just refrigerate the crust before filling, but I prefer the results with a quick 10 minutes in the oven. Just be sure it is totally cool before filling it.
Microwave 1/4 cup water, stir in some gelatin, and set it aside. Add everything other than the gelatin water to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it together.
Then add in your gelatin water and finish mixing. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a large bowl with a hand mixer. Pour it over your crust, smooth it out, and refrigerate for 6 hours or more. That’s it. It’s really that easy!
Start Cooking with Your Kids Today!
One day your kids are going to be adults. Give them the gift of valuable life skills now. Teach them to clean, manage money, and cook for themselves! Now is the time to start cooking with your kids. Get started with this no-bake dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake recipe.
Click here to download the recipe.
About the Author
Heather is a Christian, wife, Mom to 5, and a homeschooler. She writes at Fearless Faithful Mom about helping moms fearlessly embrace the challenges of motherhood. Her site includes help for homeschoolers, encouragement for the journey of motherhood, and gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instag