How to get cooking with kids News from ION Whilst it may be quicker and easier to keep children out of the kitchen, there are plenty of reasons to teach them some basic cooking skills. According to Annabel Woolmer, author of Tickle Fingers Toddler Cookbook, not only can it improve their dexterity and focus, but it gives them the opportunity to explore new or challenging foods on their own terms. It also builds familiarity, and equips them with essential skills for later in life. In fact, studies show that developing food preparation skills from a young age has long term effects on wellbeing, with fewer fast food meals consumed, more meals eaten as a family, and more frequent preparation of vegetables in adulthood. 1. Keep it simple If you choose something that takes hours or has lots of steps that need adult help, children are likely to lose interest or get frustrated. 2. Prepare This will keep them involved and engaged. Laying everything out that they need helps keep up the momentum once they start. 3. Let go! Where safe, let them play with and taste ingredients. Don’t worry about doing everything perfectly; pick a robust recipe and, when possible, let them do things their way. Choose somewhere where you don’t mind a bit of mess and let them get on with it. 4. Make them part of everyday family cooking Cooking with children can mean much more than making biscuits or cakes. There are lots of things even very young children can make for family meals, and there is something special about seeing how proud it makes them to sit down with everyone enjoying what they’ve made.