3 - 5yrs Clinic
Cooking with your child
Cooking with your child is one of the most creative ways to have fun, especially on a rainy day. Plus all that weighing and measuring is great for beginning to think about numbers, and cooking with you can help build an appreciation of food and good nutrition.
Five ideas to try in the kitchen
When your child is quite small he will not be ready for sharp knives and stirring things in boiling pans. However, making sandwiches can feel as ambitious as cooking a whole meal to a pre-schooler. Let your child spread the butter or margarine on the bread as this can be done with a blunt children’s knife, and then set out a range of fillings (slices of ham, cheese, tomato etc) so your child can build his own bespoke sarnie. Make sure you join in and that you sample his hard work.
• Fruit salad
Depending on how confident your child is at eating peel and at chopping fruit, prepare a range of colourful fruits for your child to combine in a bowl. Softer fruits like strawberries, pear and bananas can easily be cut with a child’s knife so leave these to your child even if you slice up the apple and other fruits for him.
• Fairy cakes
The end result of making cakes is an obvious incentive for children! Not only do they taste yummy, but fairy cakes are great for sharing out – showing friends and family the fruits of their hard work. Plus there is lots of stirring, measuring and pouring your child can get stuck into before the mixture goes anywhere near a hot oven. Afterwards, set out lots of little bowls of pretty toppings and let your child get creative – even the most chaotically decorated fairy cake looks fabulous.
• Biscuits… like cakes, have instant appeal.
Make a simple recipe and try replacing about a fifth of the plain flour with cornflour – this should make it easier to cut interesting shapes that don’t turn into biscuity blobs once they go in the oven.
• Hot chocolate
Boiling milk is certainly not a good thing to have around a small child, but if you warm the milk through without letting it get too hot, you can add it to half a cup of cold milk into which your child will have already spooned his cocoa powder, turning the white a pleasing, chocolatey brown colour. Make sure you try the drink first and cool it down with more cold milk if needed. This makes a lovely treat before bedtime.
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