Inside: How cooking helps children develop themselves physically and psychologically and 5 easy recipes your 5-year-old can make from scratch! Along with some bonus recipes too…
Cooking is indeed a life skill that everyone should learn. But can I let my five-year-old child make a dish, all by themselves? Genie says you can!
Fearing their safety, we don’t let them enjoy many simple pleasures of life. And one among them is cooking.
Kitchen is the best place where they can learn art, creativity, multitasking, coordination along with how to prepare delicious food.
Why are you waiting? Get your kid introduced to an amazing and engaging activity.
Though there are multiple no-fire recipes for kids, these are some eatables that we enjoy preparing at home with children. After being my assistant for sometime and helping me by bringing ingredients, opening jars, mixing stuff, my son now is interested in using his creativity and making something on his own.
Before sharing the recipes with you, let me tell you why they should be involved in such activities at a small age.
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5 Benefits Of Cooking Experience For Kids
Kitchen cupboards are the place where they can find all types of ingredients. Hence, this is a wonderful place to start for sensory exploration. From flour to condiments, everything feels different when they work with it.
Kids at these stages can find themselves bored easily wanting to try something different. For them, cooking can be an interesting and engaging activity.
This is also a great way to bond with them. They can join their siblings and help the parents in cooking and cleaning. The mess is unavoidable. Yet, it’s so fulfilling to see them play this way.
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Learning a Life Skill
Cooking is a life skill that can definitely help us be independent and self sustainable in any situation. When they get to experience this at an early age, they can easily pick it up while growing.
It’s going to come handy when they are a teen or an adult. I have seen many preteens who warm up milk on their own before going to bed. This also teaches them how much effort goes into their food before it makes it to the plate.
Fine Motor Skills Improvement
Activities like kneading, chopping, squeezing, mixing helps them improve fine motor skills as it involves fine movement of fingers and hands.
Instead of giving them ladles and mashers, make them use their hands while mixing. This enhances the sensory experience.
More often than not, kids look for opportunities to explore different things and show their creativity. Cooking is the perfect space that lets them be their creative best while exploring safely under our monitoring.
They also learn the names, aroma and taste associated with every ingredient. This allows them to come up with their own variant of the recipe based on their intuition.
Trust me! This might sound crazy when they add ketchup and spices together. Ask them to taste it and find ways to improvise the taste. Don’t choose yourself to be the test rat for their cooking experiments. 😂
And there are many other benefits than this like improving bonding between siblings or kids and parents, growing up as a responsible kid, improving their problem solving skills, physical and psychological developments etc.
Let’s take a look at the interesting recipes that you can cook along with your child.
Caution: Some of these recipes have to be cooked in a stove/microwave oven. Make sure that there is parental supervision while kids are involved. Educate them about hot surfaces and how they can handle it safely with gloves.
Pick a category that your kid would love among fruits, vegetables and meat. For those kids who don’t like eating fruits, you can choose fruits. They might give it a chance if they make it from scratch.
A five-year old can easily get enthusiastic when they see colors in their food. Pick colorful fruits and vegetables like mango, grapes, pomegranate etc. Pick the ones that are easy to cut.
Here is a child-friendly knife set that you can get for your child. It has blunt edges but that is sharp enough to cut fruits.
Required ingredients: Any five fruits like banana, strawberry, apple, pomegranate, grapes, yogurt, honey, nuts and seeds of your choice, cheese, dry fruits and berries.
This is a basic fruit salad that your child can make within 5 minutes.
Help them wash the fruits and cut them with the help of a kids knife and cutting board. Ask them to cut it in any shape they like.
Add the cut fruits in the salad bowl along with dry fruits, nuts and seeds. Hold the grater so that they can grate the cheese and pour it in.
You can powder the nuts using mortar and pestle and add it too.
This will be their favorite part. To squeeze the honey and yogurt over the top of everything and give it a good mix.
Add some mint leaves on top and that’s all! Their very own salad with basic yet tasty ingredients is ready for them to taste.
This is another simple yet yummy dish they can make on their own and relish. Avocados are rich in nutrients and basically every mothers choice if they want to give something nutritious to their kid.
This goes well with toast and also can be used as a dip. They can also make this for their little sibling.
After washing the avocado, help them cut it into two halves. Deseed and then scoop the flesh out using a spoon. This is an excellent activity for their little fingers.
With the help of a masher, guide them to mash it. If they love chunky pieces, tell them not to mash for too long.
Cut lemon into halves and squeeze it in the mash. Peel a few garlic pieces, slightly crush them and toss them in too. They can also add their favorite sauce and herbs too. This enhances the flavor of the mash.
Finally, add salt and give it a good mix. They can spread it in the bread or toast now or serve it.
Veg And Cheese Pizza
I bet you didn’t expect this in the list. Well! If you think about it, basic pizza is the laziest meal we could make at home.
From its dough to vegetables, everything about it excites the children not to mention the aromatic pizza slices at the end.
You can explain to them about the fermentation process and how yeast forms, what it does etc while making the dough. Help them mix everything uniformly and beat it across the counter to soften it.
Once dough is ready, they can roll it and make the base and transfer it to the pizza dish. Here comes my son’s favorite part. He likes spreading the ready-made pizza sauce across the base.
Then hand them over some mozzarella cheese and ask them to break it down to small pieces and spread it across.
Since this is veg pizza, they can cut vegetables like tomato, red and green bell peppers, onions, etc along with pitted olives. You can avoid pickles if you don’t want it to be spicy.
Grate cheddar cheese over at the top to make it extra cheesy. These are perfect activities for 5-year-olds when it comes to cooking.
Help them to keep this inside the oven safely and wait for that to get cooked.
Sponge Cake Or Brownie
Compared to the above ones, this is a little tricky and needs exposure to heat and stove. But once they are trained about using kitchen equipment and gained some experience, they can make this.
Sponge cake is the basic cake without icing which is very simple to make and needs fewer ingredients.
You can make it in vanilla, chocolate or banana flavor. Here is the kid friendly recipe your child can follow. Before starting, you can preheat the oven at 160C.
Sieve one cup of dough, half cup of powdered brown sugar along with a pinch of baking powder and salt. Add two egg whites and a few drops of vanilla essence and half cup of melted butter to the dough.
Once everything is in, let them beat it manually till it nicely combines. You can add milk to adjust the batter consistency. Now it’s time to transfer this to a butter coated cake tin.
Choose a shape they love the most, round, square, heart etc. Help them safely place it in the oven. While it’s getting ready, you can teach them about how/why it rises.
Let them decorate the sponge cake with jam, chocolate sauce, candies, sprinkles, etc.
Another recipe that involves multiple steps but actually easy to make. After this, kids would not just love to eat cookies but to make them too.
Here are the steps involved that your child can follow to bake hot and delicious cookies for their parents.
There are many ready-made cookie dough available in supermarkets. You can simply roll them, cut them into shapes and bake them.
Cookie cutters will bring more fun in this process. They can make it animal, star, tree, leaf or in any shape they wish.
If you want them to get their hands on dough and prepare it, you can make that in the following way.
Before starting with the dough, preheat the oven at 190C.
One cup of flour, ½ cup of melted butter, ½ cup of sugar and a pinch of salt and cinnamon powder. Mix them all together to form tight dough. Sprinkle some milk to adjust consistency.
Separate into portions and roll them into a round and thick shaped spread.
With the help of a fork, spoon or cookie cutter, they can cut the dough and place it in a butter smeared tray.
They can sprinkle choco chips at the top for that extra delight.
Wait for them to get cooked in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Your whole kitchen will be filled with aroma once it is done.
And here are some bonus food items that you can cook with your child.
Veg and Mayo Sandwich
Dry fruits and nuts balls
Peanut butter toast with honey
Burgers (layering burgers with cooked patty and vegetables)
Marshmallow stuffed cookies
Banana dipped in honey and chocolate
Not every kid is going to enjoy preparing meals or spending time in the kitchen. But if we give them the right exposure during the right time, they might. Keeping aside the gender roles and patriarchal stereotypes, if we teach our kids this life skill, it’s going to help them a lot in future.
Preparing these recipes can hardly take a few minutes for you. But when you let them make it after spending a few hours, both of you are going to feel good at the end.
Let’s be proud moms by making our kids proud showing them what all they can do!
Related: Looking for interesting screen-free activities for your kids? Click here to know more.
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