BOLOGNA, ITALY - NOVEMBER 17: Cooking class for children is seen at the "Il Primo Anno Insieme" event at FICO Agri-Food Park on November 17, 2018 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images)

If you’re anything like the rest of us you’ve been cooking from home more than ever the last year. There has been a 110% increase in Google searches for things like “family recipes”. The extra time has also given us more opportunity for cooking with children. While it may take a little extra effort there are many benefits to encouraging your child to cook with you. In short, it can build confidence, help them learn about nutrition, and allows you to spend quality time together.

Those sticky handprints, spilled flour, and little voices asking, ‘can I lick the spoon?’ can be a handful. But you’ve got to admit it’s pretty cute as well and won’t last long.

Surprisingly, despite all the clear benefits, there are plenty of parents who aren’t getting their kids involved in the kitchen. A Survey by The Kitchen Confidence found that less than half of US parents cook with their kids monthly.

Wren Kitchens has teamed up with parenting coach, Isobel Mary Champion to highlight the best ways to get your little ones involved in cooking.

  1. Baking with your child is a great way to introduce them to the joys of cooking from an early age. Fairy cakes are the best place to start – small children will enjoy placing the paper cases in the tray and spooning out the mixture. Just remember, it is the activity that counts, not the finished product!
  2. Let your child explore and examine food in all its weird and wonderful forms. When you buy your groceries, don’t be too quick to put them away. Let your child touch, smell, hold (and potentially taste!) different kinds of fruit and vegetables, different shapes of pasta, and different sized tins and packets. Living herbs are also a fascinating addition to any kitchen.
  3. Let your child help you cook! Depending on the age of your child you can find appropriate ways to invite them to get involved. Children will happily assist with finding recipes, fetching ingredients, stirring, sprinkling, serving, and even washing up in a sink full of warm foamy water!
  4. Give your child a “toy kitchen” range to encourage imaginary play, complete with toy pots, pans, plates, and food items. This can be really nice to have in your own kitchen (if you have space!) so that your child can “cook” alongside you – this will encourage them to start their culinary journey early!

For more info on how to get your children into cooking, check out their blog here