Cooking with your children can be a rewarding activity. It teaches them about nutrition, gives them a useful life skill, and exercises their knowledge of math and reading. It can be a lot of fun and give you a new way to bond as a family.
It can also take time, and most people, when they come home from work, want to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible, and picking out child-friendly recipes and showing them how to be safe in the kitchen can add time they may not have to spare.
That, and the rising popularity of vacation home rentals that feature kitchens, has led many families to use their vacation time as a chance to teach children these important skills. In fact, a recently released study from Wyndham Vacation Rentals reports that nearly one in three travelers think vacation is a good time to teach kids how to cook.
Setting the Foundation
When planning to teach your kids to cook on vacation, it pays to do your research ahead of time.
- Pick out some kid-friendly recipes online and print them out. Have your kids help with ideas.
- Choose recipes that kids love to eat and keep it simple. Great options include pizza, smoothies, pancakes, omelets, chocolate chip cookies, and tacos.
- On your first day, pick up the ingredients you’ll need for the week. Make a quick trip to the food store or farmer’s market. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that cooking some of your own meals on vacation can be a major budget helper: Vacationers report saving $898 a week by using the kitchen in their vacation rental home.
A Recipe for Success
After you’ve prepped the recipes and ingredients, the real fun of teaching and cooking can begin. Here are four tips to get you started.
- Be patient: Remember, learning something new takes time—and on vacation, you have time.
- Trust them with some of the important tasks: Have your kids do such things as putting the cheese on the pizza or rolling out cookie dough. They’ll feel they’re truly making something special.
- Let them mess up and make a mess: Teach them how to do things differently but let them know it’s okay to make mistakes. Fight any urge to stop them from making a mess. It’s a part of the creative process, after all.
- Talk about why people eat certain foods: This can be a great time to teach kids about why fruits and vegetables are so important. Talk about how these foods can help them grow strong and tall. You could be setting the foundation for a healthy relationship with food.