Kids in the Kitchen

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I first learned to cook by being in the kitchen with my parents.  I learned how to be comfortable and was free to make messes and mistakes.  They didn’t leave me alone with a butcher knife, of course, but they taught me how to use kitchen tools safely.  I was always a part of making the meal: cleaning up, setting the table, making a salad, etc.  From there, a passion grew.  I hope to share this same experience with my daughter.  And I’m learning not to get too caught up in the cooking so that I don’t miss out on the fun of spending time with my half pint.

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(Chef Tara rolling out cookies, circa 1983)

 Ideas:

* Give your kids a bowl, spoon, rolling pin, and other utensils.  Even if they are rolling out a piece of bread or mixing a few things, they will enjoy “cooking” in the kitchen.

* Open the spice drawer and smell the spices with them.  Categorize them by color, which letter they start with, etc. and then let them choose which one to use for dinner.

* Let them pour, mix, get ingredients, etc. based on their age and maturity.

* If you have a play kitchen, move it close to the kitchen so they can cook along with you.

* Make it fun!  Put on some music, pour you and your child’s favorite drinks, and have fun while you cook.

* Have several kids? Let them worth together.  Think assembly line.  Each can be in charge of a project or a part of dinner.

* Give them some tips:  “Watch Mommy while I stir.  Make a circle with your spoon.  Touch the sides of the bowl while you stir.”  Then encourage them when they remember what you taught them.  Maybe they can teach it to another member of the family.

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(Chef Tara “cleaning fish”, circa 1984)

Is this more effort for you?  Yes.  More fun for them?  YES!!!!  Send me another idea that works for you and your family and enter to win a full day of food.  tara@halfpintpalates.com