Cooking with Kids

Our child has been in the kitchen cooking with us since she was an infant. We have always talked to her about what we are doing/making in the simplest of terms – from bottle preparation to dinner and dessert. She may not have known at the time what we were saying, but we knew some day it would become beneficial. That some day is now as she races to the kitchen, apron in hand, eager to pull up a chair or sit on the counter to help. And we don’t discourage it! It is family bonding on a new level. Cooking together.  Learning together.

The Flint Children’s Museum recently posted an article on their Facebook pageThe New York Times article called, “Cooking With Kids:  5 Reason You Should Be Doing It,” really does an amazing job at sharing the importance of having your child{ren} help in the kitchen. As a mom of a spunky 2.5-year-old, children should learn to cook and at an early age. It is a basic life skill. And while you may be reluctant to put your two-year-old in the kitchen, doing so will make a difference as they grow. According to KJ Dell’Antonia and Margaux Laskey, here’s why:

5 reasons to have your child(ren) in the kitchen with you:

  • Children who cook become children who taste, and sometimes eat.
  • Children who cook say “I can,” not “I can’t”.
  • Cooking is a way to talk about health.
  • Cooking is a way to talk about healthy ingredients.
  • Cooking brings cooks of all ages closer.

It was in that same post that the generosity of our county came out. The Flint Children’s Museum opened up its doors and partnered with Greater Flint Health Coalition under the Commit to Fit organization to bring us a six-week class, Cooking with Kids program. This was a free, 90-minute, hands-on program to teach families to make healthy food choices while learning to cook fresh and affordable recipes from diverse cultures. While geared towards families with children grades K – 8th, the GFHC was very understanding and accommodating to families with younger children. They welcomed us into the class as long as we were able to listen to everyone in the class had a chance to learn.

This has been the best six weeks! Coming from work, I would meet my husband and daughter each week. They were lucky enough to arrive a few minutes before class started to get some playtime at the Children’s Museum. 

Class began each week with Dave from the University of Michigan, FlintWe would meet in the “commons area” in order to do some exercises/activity. Exercises varied week to week, but always included 30 minutes of getting our hearts pumping, be it with push-ups, burpees, jumping jacks, sit-ups and much more. Dave showed us the proper way to do various exercises and taught us the importance of maintaining form and why warming up and cooling down are important.

Reppin’ some push-ups at the ripe ol’ age of 2

 “Every day has 1,440 minutes. Be active for 30.” ~ Commit2Fit

After our 30 minutes of working up a sweat, we retreated to the Community Room to cook. 

Week 1:  Room Set-Up for Breakfast Burritos + Fruit Salad

Recipes varied week-to-week {with my favorite being a bean tostada}, but we always had fresh veggies picked from the Sproutside of the museum, which was awesome to experience if you don’t have your own outside garden. There were plenty of handouts at the back of the room that included recipes from Commit2Fit, as well as activity calendars. If you don’t already have a profile set up at Commit2Fit, I highly recommend it. There is a wealth of information here for your entire family.

This is just a sample of the recipes that Commit2Fit offers online. When you click on each recipe, they tell you exactly what you need, from ingredients to utensils.

This was most definitely a hands-on experience by all. My daughter loved being able to actually cut the veggies by herself {at home, it’s a two-person, one utensil job} with the child-safe utensils that were provided to us.

Our teachers, Ms. Heather and Ms. Nicole, did such an amazing job at involving everyone in the group. They really put together a great set-up each week that ran well!

Meal prep is complete! Now to deliver to our class teachers so that cooking can commence. 

Dinner is served: Breakfast burrito and fruit salad!

Guide and encourage your child{ren} towards the kitchen now so that when they are older, they will thrive, not only in life but in taking control of their own health!

Have you braved bringing your child{ren} into the kitchen with you to cook? What tips or tricks do you have? What has been your favorite recipe to conjure up?  We’d love to hear!

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