Thanksgiving is all about food and family, and each year presents an opportunity to spend precious time together and pass on beloved traditions to our children.
Preparing the biggest meal of the year can challenge even the most experienced cook, so why not involve the kids? You’ll receive some much-needed help, and they’ll have fun while learning something along the way — a true win-win!
Here are some ways to include the little ones in the cooking process:
1. CHOOSE AGE-APPROPRIATE TASKS:
Assign tasks that are suitable for your child’s age and skill level. Younger children can help with simpler tasks like washing vegetables or setting the table, while older kids can assist with chopping, mixing and more complex tasks.
2. CREATE A KID-FRIENDLY MENU:
Plan a special Thanksgiving menu that includes dishes your children like. This will pique their interest and make them more eager to participate.
3. TEACH THEM ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS:
Take the time to explain the ingredients you’re using, where they come from and their role in the recipes. Kids are more likely to be engaged if they understand the process and importance of each ingredient.
4. INVOLVE THEM IN MEAL PLANNING:
Let your children have a say in what dishes to make. Encourage them to suggest their favorite Thanksgiving recipes or flavors.
5. GIVE THEM A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP:
Assign them specific tasks and responsibilities, and make them feel like they are an essential part of the cooking team. For example, they can take charge of making a certain side dish or dessert.
6. PROVIDE CHILD-SIZED TOOLS:
Invest in child-friendly kitchen tools and utensils, such as small knives, measuring cups and mixing bowls. This will make it easier and safer for them to participate.
7. MAKE IT A LEARNING EXPERIENCE:
Use cooking as an opportunity to teach children valuable skills like measuring, following instructions and understanding cooking techniques. Explain the science behind cooking processes like baking or how ingredients change when combined.
8. ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY:
Let your children add their own twists to dishes. Whether it’s decorating cookies, garnishing dishes or creating a unique side dish, allowing them to be creative can make the experience more enjoyable.
9. ENCOURAGE TASTE-TESTING:
Urge your children to taste different ingredients and dishes along the way. This not only helps them develop their palates, but it also makes them feel more connected to the meal.
10. SET A FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE:
Play some holiday-themed music, wear aprons and make the kitchen feel festive and welcoming.
When you involve children in your Thanksgiving prep, you’re making memories as well as a meal. In addition, you’re teaching them valuable life skills, fostering a sense of responsibility and giving them confidence in their abilities. What’s not to love?