|Great British Bake off here we come !|
At nursery earlier this week the pre-schoolers prepared their own snacks using safe knives. They often prepare fruit or bagels for afternoon tea and learn how to use kitchen utensils safely. The experience of real food preparation helps children to understand where their meals come from and also helps develop their manual dexterity. I know my son recognises that when the microwave pings it usually means something is cooked, but he also knows that the saucepan on the hob often has hot soup or boiled eggs in it, the rolling pin is used to prepare chapattis and that the oven is where the yummy cakes and biscuits come from.
When I spoke to Mother-in-law earlier she recounted that Mary Berry says instead of giving children playdoh why not give them actual dough so they get a feel for cooking and baking real food ? Of course that would make the playdoh barber shop a bit like Sweeney Todd's, but you get the point. And it's not just the queen of the Great British Bake Off who thinks we should cook with our kids, Cbeebies has a plethora of cooking programmes aimed at little ones. Our snow day viewing has included I Can Cook and on Something Special Justin was making shortbread with his friends. In the past my son has watched Big Cook Little Cook with fascination (much like I watch Come Dine With Me) and the lunchtime song is a favourite in our house.
I'd recommend introducing cooking to young children - and I hope these tips are helpful:
- Be prepared for mess - if it bothers you put a lot of newspaper or a sheet on the floor first.
- Relax if they eat the ingredients - tasting is all part of the learning and a bit of raw pastry isn't going to do any harm
- Make a game of the practical activities - washing hands at the start and the implements at the end. If you put a washing up bowl onto a low table covered with lots of tea-towels it gives little ones the chance to have lots of fun.
- Reward your little chef with first taste - I always make a smaller version of everything so that he has his own ones
|My little washing machine|
He may not be the next Heston, but then I'm no Nigella.