Tips for fun & safe cooking with kids

| Farmer Focus

Cooking with your children is a valuable way to form a bond that can create memories for a lifetime. But cooking presents dangers to little helpers. These tips are good reminders to ensure you and your little ones have an enjoyable experience by your side and develop habits that support food safety and fun with food:

  • Start small! Things like letting them stir ingredients in a bowl or holding onto the tongs as you guide them to placing the chicken on the grill can be fun.
  • Remember, how you communicate with kids while they are completing the task makes the experience. Be encouraging and offer support and guidance to boost their confidence.
  • Be a narrator. Describe all sense when cooking with kids. They can easily catch onto “using a sharp knife to cut our hot chicken breast” or “let’s put the chicken on the grill near the hot flame.”
  • Keep your cool. Cooking with kids can get crazy if they decide to do their own thing. Having ingredients prepared and cooking a familiar recipe can help with the chaos, but if you lose it, let them know why you got upset when they dumped half the salt container into the slow cooker.
  • Print the recipe. If phones and tablets work for you, cool. We love being a part of digital work. We also know spills and drops happen, and having the recipe on paper can protect screens and electronics.
  • We are taking this opportunity to remind everyone about food safety. Teach kids to use meat thermometers, note the appearance and smell of meat before cooking, and check the label info like a use-by date. We want to make sure the food we are cooking is safe to eat!
  • Install safety latches on all cabinets and cupboards with contents that could pose risks to children.
  • Keep spices out of children’s reach. Many are toxic.
  • Keep aluminum foil, waxed paper, and plastic wrap dispensers away from children. The serrated edges on the boxes can cut little fingers.
  • Use backburners whenever possible. Some of the most common accidents occur when a child reaches up and grabs a pot or pan, spilling the hot contents over himself. When it’s necessary to use the front burners, turn all pot handles toward the back so they are not as easy to reach.
  • Be careful to open a hot oven door when a child is standing by. They may try to touch the inside of the door or may get a face full of very hot air.
  • Never leave sharp implements, including knives, where little hands can grab them.
  • Unplug all small appliances when not in use and store them out of reach.

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