Sponsored guest blog by Gemma Allen of Crafty Cooks – a cookery club for children as young as 2.5 years of age where they are given the chance to cook a little more than the standard cupcake!
Cooking with your children is a great way to pass the time. It’s a good, fun, educational activity with the added bonus of something to eat at the end of it.
With child obesity on the rise with children who can’t tell the difference between a melon and a cucumber, now is the perfect time to get your children involved in cooking and give them this great starting block in life no matter their age.
There are so many benefits to cooking with children, some of these are listed below:
- Co-ordination – we get them weighing ingredients, rolling the dough etc.
- Numeracy – counting what you have made
- Mathematics – Weighing out ingredients is a brilliant weigh to help your child grasp numbers.
So here are my top tips for cooking with children and below is a fun, easy recipe for you to try at home…
- Get them involved in the whole process from going to the shops to get the ingredients to preparing and finally eating the bakes is the best way to get even the fussiest eaters trying something new.
- Make sure it’s fun. Forget it’s food and let your little one get messy and dirty mixing up the ingredients with their hands. Use the rolling and cutting out as a bit of fun to fine tune their co-ordination skills and at the end count out the amount of bakes they have made and get them eating. It’s not about the end product, it’s about having fun with your children and creating an imperfect creation. Yes it does get a bit messy but nothing that can’t be cleaned up. The most important thing is that you and your child have had fun doing an activity together and they can always help you with the washing up!
- Be organised and pre-weigh the ingredients for younger children so they can just get involved straight away without losing interest after the weighing, as younger kids only have a short concentration time.
- Always try something new, don’t always go to a cupcake and if you do try and be a bit adventurous for example use a carrot cake recipe to get them trying something new. Once your child has tried something new once they will be more willing to try it in a different form again.
- It’s not always about getting a dish for them to eat on their own. Why not get them helping prepare your main meal. My daughter always helps me get our dinner ready. From using a safety child knife and cutting up an onion to grating cheese with a rotary grater. The best thing is she loves it and most of the time clears her plate too.
The main bit of advice I have is to enjoy this time with you little one teaching them the most important life skill they will ever need. A child that is confident about handling foods and experiencing new about handling foods and experiencing new ingredients is a child on the way to a happy and healthy future.
These little quiches make a great snack for children and can be filled with food of your choice. Some ideas are peppers, sweetcorn, ham, tomatoes and cheese.
100g Plain Flour
Fillings of your choice
12 hole muffin tin
1. Make your pastry by rubbing together the butter and flour in a large mixing bowl. Ask your children to help you ‘squidge’ the two together to see if you can magically make the butter disappear into sand. Once it is all combined, add cold water a spoonful at a time until you get a nice dough. If it gets too wet just add a bit more flour.
2. Leave the pastry aside whilst you prepare your tin. Give your child a chunk of butter and using it as a crayon colour in your tart tray holes until they are fully oiled, you then sprinkle flour over the holes and turn the tray upside down, the excess will flour your surface.
3. Together roll out the pastry and cut out lots of circles large enough to line your tin.
4: Fill the cases half way up with your fillings (eg a handful of grated cheese with some sliced cherry tomatoes or ham), then combine the egg and milk and fill to the top. Cook at 220Oc / 430oF for 12-15 minutes until cooked throughout.
Gemma runs Crafty Cooks – for more information about her classes go here.
Crafty Cooks Facebook page
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