Turn meal time into game time, and make cooking fun by playing a cooking game with your children. With a bit of creativity, you can invent cooking games that make the task more enjoyable for both of you. Cooking with a child is a great way to help him learn to measure, handle a knife and demonstrate basic science to him.
Before you and a child can begin to cook, you will need to set up all the ingredients and equipment you need. Setting up beforehand eliminates the risk that you will get halfway through a recipe only to realize you are out of sugar or butter. Turn the initial preparation into a game by timing how long it takes your child to gather everything. Make sure you help him reach any ingredients that are in a high cabinet. Use the stopwatch whenever you cook together and record the times. Give him a prize whenever he beats his fastest time.
Cooking games can range from simple time trials to coming up with creative ways to measure ingredients while still being accurate. Older children who are more experienced in the kitchen can also play a game where they attempt to assemble a recipe, based on a picture of the finished product. Another cooking game involves trying to come up with new and tasty dishes out of old but still edible leftovers.
Several cooking games have been created for video game systems. The hand-held Nintendo DS system has several games for both children and adults that will walk the player through the steps needed to create a dish. In some cases, the dish created in the game is virtual, but in others, the video game is designed to be a sort of cookbook, and the player creates an actual meal or dish while playing the game.
Learning to cook can help a improve a child’s math skills. You can also use the time in the kitchen to teach a child about science. For instance, you can spend a few minutes explaining to him about the Maillard reaction, when food browns while cooking, as he bakes cookies or browns meat. Cooking games will also encourage your child to learn to cook, since he will come to see it as a fun and rewarding activity.
Even though you and your child are having fun, keep in mind that the kitchen can be a dangerous place. Always supervise children when they go near the oven or use a knife. If a child is too short to reach the counter top, give her a step stool to stand on so that she doesn’t climb on a chair. If you use a video game system in the kitchen, make sure you don’t touch with wet or dough-covered hands.
- fun in the kitchen image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com