Family Time in the Kitchen Builds Relationships and Skills

What better way to spend time with family than to bake or cook together?
Family Time in the Kitchen Builds Relationships and Skills - Articles

Updated: February 8, 2016

Family Time in the Kitchen Builds Relationships and Skills

You can create lots of great memories in the kitchen, plus use it as an opportunity to teach and build strong relationships.

Baking and cooking together has many benefits including:

  • strengthening family traditions. Preparing family favorite recipes together, especially for the holidays, is a great way to pass on family traditions from generation to generation.
  • providing an experience for children to practice math and reading skills. Measuring ingredients and reading recipes can give kids an opportunity to apply their knowledge and improve these skills.
  • giving children a chance to learn important life skills. Kids need opportunities to learn about preparing healthy foods safely so that they are able to cook for themselves once they are grown.
  • boosting children's self-esteem. Children feel a great sense of pride when they feel they've successfully prepared a dish or baked cookies.
  • it's fun! It may be a little messy, but both children and adults can have fun working together in the kitchen. The best part, of course, is tasting the final product!

Below are some tips to consider when cooking or baking in the kitchen with children.

  • Wash hands before preparing food and after any time they become contaminated. Wash hands for 20 seconds - as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice - using warm water and soap. Scrub hands and arms, rinse and dry with paper towels. Germs can spread if using terry towels for hand drying so disposable towels are best.
  • Read the entire recipe together. Estimate how long it will take to prepare. Add extra time for explaining and demonstrating techniques. Gather ingredients and equipment needed to prepare the recipe.
  • Keep safety in mind when using equipment. Be sure adults show how to perform age-appropriate baking and cooking tasks to children.
  • Teach how to clean up. That's all part of the baking and cooking process.

Below is a simple recipe for "Work it Out Cookies" that's great for young children to try.

Ingredients:

  • Rolled oats
  • Packed brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Baking soda

Have everyone wash their hands. Give each child a bowl and have available all the ingredients listed. Let each child measure 1 cup oatmeal, 1 /2 cup brown sugar, 1 /2 cup butter or margarine, 1 /2 cup of flour, and 1 /2 teaspoon of baking soda into their bowl. Encourage them to mash, knead, and squeeze using their hands until there aren't any lumps of butter. Form into small balls and put on an ungreased cookie sheet. Have each child press their cookie down with their hand or back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on cookie rack.

Authors

Food, Families and Health: PROSPER

More by Karen Thomas