Cooking with kids can seem intimidating. That’s because it IS. Think about all the dangers: knives, hot things, and the whole “curiosity killed the cat” theory that we never want applied to our little ones.
All of the above is true. But it’s not a deal-breaker. On the contrary, there are many ways to get the kids involved in safe, manageable ways.
- Provide safe working environment.
Either take the dangerous stuff out of the kitchen (or out of reach), or take the kids out of the kitchen. But that doesn’t mean they still can’t be involved. See next bullet.
- Choose a meal that doesn’t require active heating/cutting/flames.
Think creatively: what recipes require very little actual cooking til the very last step? One option is “Pigs in a Blanket”, recipe below. Think about it: you cut the hot dogs (can be done with a butter knife), you wrap them in pre-made croissant dough, and put them on the cookie sheet- all at the kitchen table- no actual kitchen time needed. Then, why not start a board game at the table and pop those piggies in the oven for a few short minutes before chowing down? It is family night, after all.
- Get Dad, the big kids, and maybe even Grandma involved.
The best case scenario for a family night is to have the whole crew together, right? So why not make sure you’ve got one adult (or big kid) for every little one. The more eyes the better. Making macaroni with two toddlers? Put one adult on direction reading and project management with the youngest, and yourself on implementation duty (stirring, pouring, etc) with the big kid. Switch roles every 5 or 10 minutes so both kids get to cook.
- Keep calm, and carry on.
Okay, so Billy dropped the egg on the floor, and Sarah ate a chunk of unbaked dough. It’s okay. Take a deep breath, and remind yourself that the kiddos aren’t bleeding, that this whole experience is about enjoying each other and having fun, and if the food tastes bad, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are readily available.
Note: If the kids ARE bleeding, skip that last step and high-tail it to the ER.
Pigs in a Blanket
- One package of hot dogs
- 1 tube croissant dough (perhaps Pillsbury)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut each hot dog in half.
- Wrap each hot dog half in a single croissant triangle.
- Place rolled hot dogs on cookie sheet, equally spaced.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
1 package of hot dogs: approx. $2
1 tubes of croissant dough: approx. $2
1 bag of microwavable steamed veggies (to round it out): approx. $2.50
Total Dinner Price for 4: approx. $6.50
Got more ideas on how to integrate kiddos into the kitchen? Share them in the comments- we’d love to hear it!