Have you ever made a delicious dinner, and then had your child say, “I don’t like that!” Same. In fact, my children would eat chicken nuggets, pizza, or Culver’s every day if I let them! We all know that proper nutrition is necessary for children to learn, grow, and develop; however, as parents, guardians, and chaos coordinators… well, sometimes we forget that there are so many learning opportunities in the kitchen!
If I were to tell you that your child could learn to read, do math, engage in science experiments, explore cultural history, build their taste buds, and it would be easy… would you believe me?
Like I said, my kiddos have opinions about what they eat and how it looks. I’ve once made the mistake of giving my child a crinkle french fry, instead of a “fast food” style one. Yikes… 10/10 don’t recommend. When they were little, it was easy to provide adequate nutrition, well-rounded with vegetables, fruits, proteins… all the things they need to grow and develop. However, as they grew, so did their thoughts on things like spinach, squash, or chicken that wasn’t shaped like a dinosaur. So, I did what any parent would do… I told them they had to eat their dinner before they could get a treat. (Survival skills, am I right?)
Then one day, my kids showed an interest in being in the kitchen! They wanted to stir things, measure, and add ingredients! So Cooking with Kids began. Did you know kids are WAY more inclined to eat the things you make if they have a part in it? We began slow, with desserts (duh) from boxed mixes. They had to recognize the numbers for the amount of the ingredients on the back of the box, and I helped them put it all together.
From there, we started learning about safety with kitchen equipment, like spatulas, knives, the mixer, and the oven and cook top.
We practiced understanding fractions through using measuring cups, and watched what happened if we added different amounts of different ingredients. From there, we started looking at different dinners that we could make! We started to incorporate different dishes from different areas of our family history: like perogy (Ukraine) and mostaccioli (Italy), and then added in different cultural specialities too like curry, enchiladas, and gyros!
Now you’re probably thinking… my kid will never eat that. Well, trust me… they won’t on the first time. But they WILL try it. Because THEY made it! And once they try these things a few times, you’ll be adding fun dishes to your family dinner rotation!
1 ½ Cups of Warm Water
1 ½ Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Packet of Instant Yeast
3 Tablespoons of Oil
¾ Teaspoon of Salt
3 Cups of Flour (keep more around!)
1. Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl. Let stand at least 10 minutes or until it froths up! (This is a great science experiment for kids to watch the yeast “eat” the sugar)
2. Add in the oil, salt, and 2 cups of the flour.
3. Knead the dough, adding more flour if too sticky.
4. Once it’s a nice ball of dough, place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel and leave until it rises to double its size.
5. Once risen, punch down and split into balls to add to your pizza pan!
6. Add your toppings and get ready to bake at 375 (fresh) or 425 (frozen) until golden brown.
*Our oven time varies between 15-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it!