5 Ways to Teach Kids Kitchen Skills This Summer
My neighbor jokes that she had an oven installed in their beautiful custom home just for resale value. She never uses it. Her parents never taught her to cook. Fortunately, she’s a marathon runner who can live on salads (but she never turns down a loaf of my homemade bread). My neighbor, who has a plethora of other talents unrelated to cooking, is nevertheless not unlike many others who lack confidence in the kitchen. With kids out of school for the summer, it’s the perfect time to help a son or daughter gain some cooking prowess.
Start simply, and enjoy the time together. Here are a few basics to build skills and memories this summer.
#1 Toast their confidence
Doesn’t everyone know how to make toast? No. Teach kids how to change the settings on your toaster and safely toast a piece of bread. It’s simple for an adult but makes a child feel like a chef! Plus, you’ll love when Johnny can make his own breakfast while you enjoy a lazy summer morning in bed with a good book.
#2 Make prepping a party
You may not have a wrap-around porch and a bowl of home-grown green beans to snap, but you can still work side by side and teach kids to shuck corn, scrub carrots and potatoes, and safely peel or slice vegetables.
We love the Zyliss Vegetable Peeler because it has a strong stainless steel blade, and sturdy handle that fits well in young hands.
Even children who are too young to use a sharp knife can use kitchen shears to snip leafy greens or herbs, or use a Zyliss Slicer with help.
#3 Pack a picnic
Making sandwiches, washing fruit, and assembling a meal for a picnic lunch is back-to-school training in disguise. Whether you spread a blanket in the backyard or drive to the mountains, let kids play a bigger role in planning your next picnic. When you’re back to a busy school morning schedule, you’ll love that your children have the know-how and skills to plan and prep well-rounded lunches for themselves.
We love these handy bento-box style containers that keep moist and dry foods separated, and are 100% leakproof. Perfect for backpacks!
#4 Freeze the day
Did you know your eight-year-old can make dinner? She can. And with a slow cooker and some pre-prepped freezer meals, she can learn in an afternoon. Prep slow cooker freezer meals in Ziploc storage bags, and store them in an easy-to-reach spot in the freezer. Teach your child to follow a simple step-by-step checklist on an index card: 1) Insert a PanSaver Slow Cooker Liner into the slow cooker. 2) Pour the contents of the freezer bag into the cooker 3) Plug in the slow cooker and set to low. Whether you involve children in your prep day to assemble the freezer meals, or just train them to cook the meal in the slow cooker, they’ll feel empowered to see how easy cooking can be. Carpe diem!
#5 Meal plan like an evil genius
When 5:00 p.m. rolls around and there’s no plan for dinner, the natives get restless (or maybe that’s just in our homes). You can plan for a month or just for the next week, but a meal plan brings peace to the home front. Pull out family cookbooks or pore through Pinterest and let kids make requests for dinner. Their involvement in the planning will minimize complaints at the dinner table, and it also helps kids to think about the components of a healthy diet.
Download our free weekly & monthly printable meal planners to get started tonight: