The kitchen is the heart of any home, and that means that quite a bit of time is spent with the family around the table. For young ones the kitchen is a place where adults go to create amazing dishes with a pantry full of ingredients. They also know that they are welcome to sit around the table and hustle with colouring books and toys, being fully aware that play time stops when the plate lands on the table. However, the learning and play time doesn’t need to end with colouring books and toys, it can continue with different elements from the kitchen.
Lay down the rules
Children should be made aware that even though the kitchen can be a fun place to hang around in, it can also be a dangerous place when there is no adult supervision. Let them know that some kitchenware and household bleach and other cleaning solutions should not be consumed and that sharp knives or scissors should not be played with.
Every parent would like to think their little one could be the next Jamie Oliver when they invite them to stir the pot. Start off with simple meals for them to help out with and let them take the lead – with your watchful eye over their shoulder of cause. By giving them a chance to help out in the kitchen, it will develop their appreciation for healthy, quality food, but they’ll be learning along the way.
Teach them about food
The pantry is made to be explored and once the treasure is found, tantalizing dishes can be prepared. Let your little one explore ingredients with you and teach them about where each one comes from and what makes food flavourful. Their geographical and environmental knowledge will be tickled, sharpening their intellect as you go along. This will give them an appreciation for where food comes from, whether from the ground, an animal or trees. As you choose what will be on the menu for supper, dish out a background story e.g. the varieties of food that are made from wheat, noodles originate in China, comes from Italy etc.
Let play time incorporate learning time about food. While they are sitting at the kitchen table, get the crayons out and let them draw a timeline of each stage in a fruit or vegetable journey to our pots. Take out your cookbooks as this can be visually stimulating for young children. Let them flick through the selection of colourful pictures of interesting foods.