Grandchildren often find that their very favourite playmates are their grandparents. Grandkids have a way of bringing out the fun side of their parents’ parents much to the delight of both generations.
While there are many activities that grandparents and grandchildren can share cooking can be one of the most delicious!
Fun in the Kitchen
Depending on the age of the child, cooking with grandkids can go from simple to gourmet. The youngest family members are often happy to measure ingredients, stir, and taste test the finished products while older kids and teens can often participate in every step including deciding on the menu, shopping for ingredients, food preparation, presentation, and clean up (yeah!).
The goal for cooking with children of any age should be fun, rather than perfection, so grandparents need to be prepared for a few mistakes and a whole lot of mess!
Deciding What to Make
In order for the project to be a true collaboration, kids need to be involved in choosing what to make.
Since young kids are likely to repeatedly choose their favourites, it may be a good idea to give them a few choices, rather than allowing them to pick anything that they want.
If there is more than one child involved, taking turns selecting the menu or allowing them to each choose a portion of the meal are good ways to get everyone involved without causing hurt feelings.
Kids might enjoy making some of the foods that their parents enjoyed as children, and they will definitely get a kick out of hearing stories about years gone by. A trip to the library or bookstore to browse recipes can also be fun and will help to give you new ideas.
There are a number of children’s cookbooks available that offer recipes that are both kid-friendly and easy to prepare.
Grandparents should be open to trying new things since an adventurous attitude will rub off on the kids, making them more willing to experiment with unfamiliar foods.
While most grandparents are happy to indulge their grandchildren in sweets every now and then, cooking on a regular basis must include some healthy foods, too.
Time spent preparing meals offers perfect opportunities to talk about the benefits of food as fuel for energy and healthy growth. With growing numbers of young people suffering from eating disorders, food issues are clearly prevalent. Grandparents can help their grandkids to develop healthy attitudes about food by talking about moderation, balance, and the pleasures of eating well.
In order to reinforce the benefits of healthy eating, grandparents might want to consider growing a garden with their grandchildren. Kids are far more likely to enjoy vegetables if they’ve had a hand in growing and preparing them!
Learning and Having Fun
In addition to learning about healthy eating, kids benefit in a number of ways by cooking. Measuring ingredients and calculating changes to recipes to adjust serving sizes helps kids to make practical use of math.
Sometimes, even kids who struggle in school find that when they learn in a hands-on way rather than from books, concepts that eluded them suddenly become clear.
In addition to honing their math skills, cooking offers natural opportunities for learning about other countries and cultures.
Grandparents can encourage kids to locate recipes that are native to faraway places, then both generations can research the country while sampling some of the nation’s culinary offerings.
While most kids enjoy helping out in the kitchen, they don’t always consider the safety hazards that exist. Grandparents must always be on hand to supervise the use of sharp tools, electric appliances, and hot surfaces.
Additionally, kids should be taught not to use kitchen chairs for climbing, instead asking for help to reach high cabinets or making use of a safety step stool.
Making it Special
Cooking with grandchildren can be a lot of fun, whether it is something that is done occasionally or on a regular basis.
To make the time even more memorable, grandparents can take a few photos of the children while they are cooking and maybe one of each finished dish. At a later time, the grandkids can then use the pictures to assemble a recipe book of their favourite family recipes.
Another idea for making the experience especially fun is to invite the children’s parents for a celebration meal, prepared and served by their kids.
Children will enjoy setting a table complete with flowers and cloth napkins and then proudly treating their parents to an evening of delicious homemade food and service normally enjoyed at the finest restaurants.
Cooking with grandparents creates much more than tasty foods, it creates memories that the children will keep with them long after the food has been devoured.