Easy and fun ways to get your kids into cooking
Tips and recipes to encourage your kids to get involved in the kitchen.
Getting kids interested in cooking and learning how to prepare food is a very important life skill.
The main strategies are to make things that are simple and foolproof so that they won’t be discouraged by recipes going wrong; also choose cooking projects that allow lots of creativity so that they have the freedom to put their own personal spin on their dishes.
Here are 4 super-easy ways for your kids to have fun in the kitchen.
1. MAKE RAW BALLS
Raw balls are a great introduction into cooking and preparing foods for kids as they can’t make a mistake and they have lots of scope to include their own variations.
Make raw balls from scratch or, to make things super-easy, buy a raw ball kit. We recommend Good Mix’s Ball Bags which have everything you need, you just have to mix in either coconut oil or water.
You can provide some interesting extras for the kids to add. These could include:
- Dessicated coconut
- Dried fruit such as goji berries, raisins or chopped dried apricot
- Grated chocolate or chopped chocolate pieces
- Chopped activated nuts
- Hundreds and thousands
2. MAKE HEALTHY CRACKLES
These treats are much lower in sugar than shop-bought cakes and lollies and you can also use add them to lunchboxes.
The kids should be able to make most of the mixture on their own but you may need to supervise the melting of coconut oil or butter.
HEALTHY CHOCOLATE CRACKLES
Makes 12 cakes
- ½ cup cold-pressed organic coconut oil or good quality butter
- 1 tbsp almond or other nut butter, such as Totally Nuts organic activated almond butter
- 1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
- 2 tsp raw cacao or cocoa
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 cups rice bubbles
- 1. Gently melt coconut oil and nut butter in a saucepan.
- 2. Pour into a large bowl.
- 3. Mix in all other ingredients except rice bubbles.
- 4. Stir in rice bubbles.
- 5. Spoon mixture into cake cases or, if you want to make into a slice spoon into an oblong buttered dish.
- 6. Allow to set in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.
3. HAVE A ‘RESTAURANT’ NIGHT
Set up a pretend restaurant in your dining area where the kids can play at being chefs and waiting staff.
Use small pads and pencils for them to take orders from the adults, a small blackboard or whiteboard for them to write ‘specials’ on, and some sheets of paper to write and design menus.
They can also have fun making up the table with a fancy tablecloth and decorations.
They might need help preparing dishes for the ‘restaurant’ and with ‘plating up’ if the meals are hot. Easy ideas of what you could help them make could include:
A cheese platter – buy in some of the adult guests’ favourite cheese, some good chutney, such as Spiced Pear Chutney from Bunny Chow Down; add some crackers and fruit such as grapes or slices of apple.
Tortilla wraps – make a bean or beef chilli in advance and keep warm; have ready some grated cheese, sour cream, chopped fresh coriander, slices of avocado and add some salsa. They can then add the ingredients to a wrap, according to their customer’s preference.
Homemade pizzas – Buy pizza bases and add toppings of tomato paste, grated cheese, tomato and dried herbs. If you want to a super-healthy pizza try Kitz Living Foods’ raw pizza bases, which are grain-free and gluten-free.
4. TRANSFORM A SIMPLE FOOD
Watching ingredients transform into something else is fascinating and fun for kids. Making popcorn and meringue are perfect ways to show them how they can turn one basic ingredient (i.e corn kernels and egg whites) into something magical.
To make 3 cups of popcorn you will need about two tbsp. of popping corn.
Heat popping corn in a medium saucepan with a little oil and make sure you put the lid on. Once corn starts popping, listen carefully and take off the heat as soon as popping starts to slow down.
Make sure younger children are supervised during the popping process.
Now let the fun begin. Get your kids to add whatever ingredients they like to the popped corn. This could include:
- Melted chocolate poured over
- A little brown sugar and a pinch of salt
- A sweet dukkah such as Spice Fusion’s Macadamia and Chocolate Dessert Dukkah, which contains nuts, seeds, spices and hand-chopped chocolate.
Whisk two egg whites until soft peaks form, add a pinch of cream of tartar and then gradually whisk in half a cup of caster sugar.
Get the kids to scoop dollops of the mixture onto a lined baking tray. They can have fun making whatever shapes they want out of the mixture.
Bake at 120 degrees celcius for 60-90 minutes.
For fun variations, the kids can gently stir a little melted chocolate or activated hazelnut chocolate spread into the mixture before baking. Alternatively, they can add chopped nuts, such as Totally Nuts organic activated hazelnuts.