Preparing our kids for independence – sounds scary, right? Ensuring they have basic life skills like how to do laundry, how to sew a button back on, how to clean the house, how to change a tire, or even how to put together a cohesive back to school outfit. Building on their recipe for success, kids need these in their inventory of life skills. Unfortunately, most schools no longer offer classes like sewing, auto shop, or home economics. Yet, most of these life skills are still relevant as ever, so it’s up to us to ensure we send them out into the world ready to take on the basic tasks.
One of the most basic (yet insanely important) skills is cooking. Perhaps our kids will be wildly successful and can afford to eat out every night or hire a personal chef. While one can dream, the reality is, the majority of us will have to make our own meals. Teaching your kids now can also instill a healthy approach to food and eating that can last a lifetime.
To hone the skills early on, and hopefully make home life easier in the meantime (little helpers!) here are seven recipes that are kid-friendly and start building their love of cooking:
Pancakes are a breakfast favorite (but are also pretty yummy for dinner, too!). It’s a filling, easy to make breakfast staple that only involves a few ingredients. You will need to monitor your kids if they have not used the stove top before. An alternative might be an electric skillet, but it’s best to also supervise until you know they have all the safety measures down.
Of course, you can go the short-cut route and use something like Bisquick, milk, and an egg to show your kids how to make pancakes. However, there are many other easy pancake recipes that introduce them to a few more ingredients, giving them more to mix together and understand about what goes together.
Teaching your kids how to make a smoothie accomplishes a few things. You get them to reach for a healthy snack (or breakfast on the go) choice as well as get more fruit in them! It’s easy to make plus turning on the blender and watching everything together is pretty cool.
This easy smoothie recipe also allows you to adapt it to your child’s preferences in terms of the fruit they like. For example, if they are not into blueberries but love strawberries or raspberries, you can show them it’s okay to switch ingredients. This includes using honey instead of sugar.
3. Chicken Fingers
The first lesson here is that chickens don’t have fingers. The second lesson is that homemade chicken strips taste so much better than those frozen ones you throw in the microwave. In fact, this recipe elevates the chicken finger to fine dining and offers an opportunity for your pint-sized chef to add in a side dish of green beans and whip up a sauce to accompany both. This makes a great lunch or dinner meal selection that the whole family will enjoy.
Help your kids understand that some of the heartiest meals out there don’t have to come in a box or jar. Instead, with only a few fresh ingredients, they can create something with more flavor that also minimizes the sodium, sugar, and other no-no’s found in processed foods.
You can also show your kids that it’s fun to adapt traditional recipes like spaghetti, which often has a beef sauce, and create something unique with a chicken-based sauce. With this family-style chicken spaghetti dinner, they will enjoy the taste and realize experimenting with every recipe is fun. Plus, introduce them to different types of pasta. They don’t have to use traditional spaghetti but might like different pasta shapes or thicknesses.
5. Pizza Skewers
Here’s a fun take on a traditional favorite meal that all kids seem to love. It’s a different way to enjoy pizza while making it easy and fun for kids to make. This recipe for pizza skewers works for kids of all ages. For example, since you may not littler kids to touch the grill, they can throw the ingredients in a bowl and mix everything up while older kids can roll out the dough and put the ingredients on the skewers.
S’mores are one of those campfire favorites. However, you can also turn it into a great dessert that your kids can make at home for you and the family. This S’mores Casserole is delicious and easy. It involves putting a lot of tasty ingredients in one bakeware dish and putting it in the oven. Since it only takes minutes to prepare, it fits your young child’s attention span. Plus, they will most likely be standing nearby to the oven waiting for this gooey goodness to be ready.
7. Lego Brownies
Brownies are a favorite dessert and adding a frosting design that makes them look like Legos is an engaging way to keep your little baker involved in learning their way around the kitchen. These Lego brownies are totally awesome because they are simple to make for kids of all ages and taste so good. On a side note, if you step on one of these brownies, they won’t hurt!
Lessons From the Kitchen
There is a lot to learn and enjoy from teaching your kids how to cook and bake. They get math lessons in measuring ingredients and safety lessons on kitchen appliances and utensils. You can introduce them to new tastes and develop their palates. Plus, it’s a great excuse to enjoy some time with your kids and make great memories.