When kids reach a certain age a beautiful thing happens for a brief period of time. They want to make their own snacks. This gives parents one less thing to do, gives kids confidence in the kitchen and teaches responsibility and independence. Lots of our customers use our outdoor meals, especially the fruit and veggie packs and dips, as an introduction to kitchen self-sufficiency and safety.
If your kids are starting to ask to help in the kitchen and are starting to express their little inner chefs, safety is the first thing to teach.
Here are some tips:
- Establish a few simple things children are allowed to make on their own. Supervise them in the process until you’re sure they can safely do it alone.
- Take the time to explain kitchen tools and how to use them properly.
- Teach fire safety right away. Explain how the fire extinguisher works, how to put out a grease fire, and when to call 911.
- Teach by example. Even if you normally use a towel to move hot pants, start using oven mitts. Towels can catch fire too quickly on hot burners.
- Teach sanitation. Wash your hands and explain how germs and can contaminate food.
- Remind your little chef to never leave cooking food unattended.
- Teach the restaurant mantra “Clean As You Go”. Spills can cause slips.
- Decide which appliances the child is allowed to use then demonstrate how they work. Be sure they know that metal and microwaves don’t mix.
- Teach portion control. When kids establish self-governance with food portions early, they’re less likely to struggle with weight gain as they grow.
- As your child gains confidence in the kitchen, consider investing in a kid’s cookbook or letting them experiment with adding toppings or seasonings to simply prepared foods.
Dehydrated food packs are an excellent introduction to cooking for kids – heating water in the microwave or on the stove is a simple way to introduce appliances. Also, clean up is extremely minimal and usually involves washing a bowl and fork. Younger kids might be trusted with running the tap until the water is hot and measuring the right amount of liquid into a bowl or right into the Mylar envelope.
Even if they are just measuring water and setting a timer for a few minutes, kids love the feeling that they “made” something. If you want to let them give it a try, we’ll even send you a sample pack for free, though we can’t promise they’ll share.