In many homes, the kitchen is the humming hub of family activity – it’s where meals are made, displayed and eaten. While we adults have (almost) mastered the art of cooking, our kids still need us to show them how they can get involved in the creativity (and clean up) that takes place in the kitchen every day.
1. Plan with Care
A great way to get kids more involved in the kitchen is to plan a menu together. Have them pick a meal they want to help with and walk them through what needs to be bought to create the dish.
2. Make a Menu
Having a central location for meal and grocery planning means kids know where to jot down ideas for their next culinary creation. Formica® Writable Surfaces in Black ChalkAble provides a smooth, chalkboard surface ideal for scribbling down shopping lists and menus.
3. Play Host
Another tip for getting kids involved in the kitchen is to make cooking time playtime rather than a chore. Pretend you’re hosting your favourite cooking show with them, or get dressed up in matching aprons and chef’s hats. If kids learn that food preparation is fun, you’re setting them up for healthy eating habits for life.
4. Have Optimum Options
Kids who have a hand in choosing and making family meals are more invested in the food they eat. Teach them the principles of good nutrition by guiding them towards healthier options and appropriate serving sizes.
5. Start Them Young
When introducing your budding chefs to the kitchen, do take into account their age and stage. Toddlers can’t grate cheese but they can bring napkins to the table – involve them young so they know mealtime is family time and everyone pitches in.
If you’re thinking about what sort of meals you can make with your kids, start simple. Smoothies, muffins, cookies and pizza are usually big hits because there are a limited number of steps, and the outcome is (almost) always tasty.
7. Box It Up
Getting your brood to help prep their own lunchboxes gives them a sense of responsibility as they grow older and teaches them how balanced meals-to-go are made. Plus, picking out cute new food containers is fun for them, too.
8. Inspire Creativity
Making the kitchen an engaging place for kids to hang out sends the message that this is a space where everyone is welcome and creativity is encouraged. Covering the lower part of the island with a layer of Formica® Writable Surfaces in ColorBook gives budding artists their own reusable canvas (without having to repaint each time).
9. Book It
If you’re looking for inspiration, gifting an age-appropriate cookbook will get those culinary ideas flowing. Not only can it teach your kids about cooking techniques, but it also improves their math skills, figuring out exact measurements, timing and temperatures.
10. Eat It
Finally, and probably most importantly, the number one way you can get you kids hooked on kitchen creativity is by eating together. Passing, serving and tasting different dishes collectively shows them that good food is to be enjoyed as well as worked towards.
BONUS TIP: Creativity in the kitchen isn’t limited to food – consider setting up an art station near your cooking space so one art form can flow into the other.
First and last image courtesy of Formica®. Remaining images (including main feature) courtesy of Getty Images.