Cooking is an essential life skill that every child should learn. It not only helps them to become self-sufficient, but it also teaches them about healthy eating habits and fosters a sense of creativity and independence. By the age of 13, there are a number of basic kitchen skills that children could learn. But how do you help them achieve that?
We have compiled a list of some of the key kitchen skills that children need to master before their teenage years. There is also information about how you can work together with them to develop them and also enjoy a fun, bonding experience at the same time.
Basic kitchen skills
Planning and preparation
Children need to learn how to plan and prepare meals, including creating a shopping list, buying ingredients, and meal planning. Encourage your children to come up with healthy and creative meal ideas. This might be from something they have seen on TV, an online recipe, in a recipe book or – within reason – something they have dreamt up themselves. Talk about what goes into the meal and where they might get the ingredients to make it.
Measuring and weighing
Measuring and weighing ingredients accurately is a crucial part of cooking. Teach them how to measure ingredients such as flour, sugar, and liquids correctly by reading measuring cups, jugs and spoons. Show them how to use kitchen scales and relate it to the maths they will have learnt at school.
Food safety and hygiene
Food safety and hygiene are essential kitchen skills to ensure children are cooking and handling food safely. Talk about germs and bacteria, showing them proper hand washing techniques. You can also demonstrate how to clean kitchen utensils and surfaces properly, and how to store food safely. Discuss the different types of food and the best ways to store each, touching on use by dates and other elements of food safety.
Food prep skills
Knife skills are an important part of cooking, and children need to learn how to handle knives safely. Parents should start by teaching their children how to hold a knife correctly and how to slice and dice ingredients safely. You need to remind them to be mindful of their fingers and to always use a cutting board. In addition, they should understand the importance of never pointing a knife at another person. Ensure you monitor them at all times when they use knives.
Other than that, learning how to peel vegetables, sieve flour and other prep activities are all great things to know.
Start simple with basic dishes such as eggs, pasta, rice, and vegetables. Baking a cake is a good way to introduce that method of cooking to children, because the end product is so delicious. Show them how to roast, boil and grill ingredients, but always supervise these potentially dangerous activities.
How to encourage a love of cooking
You can foster that love of cooking from an early age by getting them involved with what you make to eat. Showing them basic kitchen skills in action and giving them responsibilities can really help.
- Involve children in picking out meals. By having a say in what the family eats, they will take more of an interest over food in general
- Give them appropriate tasks. Getting them to measure and stir ingredients, peel vegetables and do other sous-chef jobs helps them take ownership of meals
- Talk about nutrition. Explaining the importance of healthy eating habits and how the right food fuels your body to help you keep active encourages them to think more carefully about the process of making food.
- Make it fun. Cooking with your kids can be a fun way to spend time together, exploring a shared passion. Have a laugh as you learn basic kitchen skills can help your kids associate cooking with happy memories.
By mastering basic kitchen skills, your children will become more self-sufficient, creative, and independent. Showing them the skills in action and having fun whilst doing it will encourage your kids to join in and learn to enjoy cooking. You never know, you might get some decent meals made for you too!