(BPT) - Once temperatures start to drop, keeping kids active can be a difficult task as weekends migrate away from park visits and Little League games to more time spent indoors. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do in your own home to keep children engaged and help limit their video game and TV time. One of those things is cooking together, which reinforces math, science and reading comprehension skills while building great memories.
Keep your household free of the winter blues by following these simple steps to a successful and fun time with kids in the kitchen:
Establish good habits
Set good habits for your children by teaching them to wash their hands before, during and after cooking. Kid-friendly tools, like a small step stool or high-tech faucet, can help make reinforcing these habits even easier. Let your little sous-chefs know that they should wash their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, by helping them count or singing the "Happy Birthday" song twice. Remember to set a good example by washing your own hands before and after eating and during the cooking process, as needed.
A Delta kitchen faucet featuring Touch2O Technology makes it easy to turn on and off the water with a simple tap anywhere on the faucet. Use the handle to set the water at a comfortable temperature for kids to lather up. When hands are messy, the back of a hand or forearm can be used to help keep the faucet clean and reduce the concern regarding mess or cross-contamination.
"As a lifestyle expert and baking connoisseur, I spend so much time in the kitchen and I'm always looking for ways to simplify things, especially when I have my son by my side," says Melissa Johnson, mother and founder of the popular lifestyle site, Best Friends for Frosting. "Touch2O Technology has made teaching my son the importance of washing his hands easier and lends a helping hand throughout the cooking process."
Different stages for different ages
Understanding which tasks your child is capable of doing is important. Children under 5 years old enjoy observing how recipes are compiled and can help out with small tasks like setting the table, while school-age children can strengthen their math skills as they help combine ingredients for recipes and practice cooking basics, like cracking an egg. This stage is a great time to introduce the importance of choosing nutritious ingredients for everyday cooking, which can help lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle. Tap teenagers for help by encouraging them to choose the menu or explore new and exciting cuisines.
Timing is everything
Avoiding a tight schedule is important. Instead of involving children in the dinner rush, enlist their help on a weekend afternoon when there is plenty of time for questions, experiments or careful demonstrations. Choose a time when everyone is well-rested and not easily frustrated. Plan ahead when deciding what recipe you will cook together. For younger kids, consider starting with a simple dish that has fewer than five ingredients like a fruit salad or an easy muffin recipe. A pizza assembly line allows children to show their creativity by choosing their own mini-crusts, sauces, cheese and toppings.
Visit www.deltafaucet.com/InspiredLiving to find kid-friendly recipes, and take a kitchen personality quiz.