"All Hand on Deck!"
This is what I yell every night when it's time for the kids to join me in cleaning up the kitchen and making dinner. I discovered early on that I LOVE having the kids in the kitchen with me. I'm only now reaping the many benefits of this wonderful tradition!
Well, FRIDAY the 13th is "Kids Take Over the Kitchen" Day!! Let the kids make dinner for you that night and then sit down to watch a family movie, Freaky Friday perhaps. :-)
Here are some tips for getting kids involved in the kitchen:
Menu: If you're not one to have them right along side you, have them help you create the menu for the week. This will also help those picky eaters to not be so picky because they chose the meals!
Reading Recipes: As the kids learn to read they're excited to read anything. If they can't yet handle a knife but are willing to read, have them be the reading chef to guide the rest of the crew through each step.
Expect messes! I'm a messy cook anyway, so this wasn't so hard for me to get used to.
Fun Jobs: For some reason the kitchen is the only place where my kids feel like they "grow up" once they get put on the dinner making assignments. They are thrilled when they're old enough to grate the cheese or use a knife (ack!). Give them the fun jobs, the jobs they ask for rather than only the mundane tasks. They'll rise to the occasion...eventually. :-)
Great Meals to get Kids Started
Tacos: grate the cheese, chop tomatoes and lettuce, cook the meat (for older kids), heat up the tortillas.
Lasagna: just start by having them make the layers...you can't really mess that up! Little hands can grate the cheese, mix the white sauce, and fill a pot with water for the noodles.
Fajitas: cut up meat with kitchen scissors, slice green peppers & onions, toss in some oil and saute.
Pizza: again just more chopping of vegetables and then all those fun layers. It's even more excited for them to make their own individual pizzas.
Not ready for a meal? Just have them bake cookies with you for awhile. Kids love to help when they know they'll get a special treat at the end!