Advice Column, Recently, Recipes

Kitchen Time During Festive Season: Cooking Together 

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  • Category Advice Column, Recently, Recipes

The holidays are a great time for caregivers and kids to cook together. Families can use this time, away from work and school, to reconnect with each other by cooking together and teaching their families valuable skills.  Skills such as how to prep family recipes, learn how meals/dishes are put together, and the nutritional value behind these foods.

Caregivers who want to cook with their children are often faced with trying to figure out how to make it fun and engaging. Here are some ideas for easy kitchen activities that will make cooking together a fun experience:

Start small and encourage play!

Make kitchen time fun by encouraging play.  Getting comfortable in the kitchen goes beyond watching but also involves handling food and cooking utensils. We want our kids to feel like the kitchen is their space. Allowing kids to handle ingredients, wash produce, or even simply play with toys within the cooking area creates a connection. Set up a “sensory activity” like allowing kids to use measuring cups and spoons to practice scooping and levelling. You can take this a step further and let them measure the basic ingredients such as sugar and flour

Make up songs for simple tasks and make it fun

Humming a song, putting on your child’s favourite soundtrack, or creating your very own cooking jingle, can lighten the mood for both of you. This is effective fun when teaching kids skills that require patience like stirring slowly or taking turns. Children will learn to love cooking if you relax and have fun with them in the kitchen. Give the children an opportunity to experiment with your guidance and only step in when it’s necessary, otherwise let them enjoy and create.

Embrace the mess

Cooking is messy, there is no way to completely avoid it. Kids learn so much from exploring. Don’t mind the mess, let them be creative and have fun. Wiping down the counter or washing up dishes can be a dual exercise.

Create food art and encourage their imagination

Make healthy eating fun for kids by getting creative at mealtimes. Presenting food in the form of a picture or simple pattern, or decorating the rim of the plate, can make it more exciting and enticing for children. Animals and faces are always popular, and broccoli and cauliflower make excellent trees! Why not let kids cut carrots and cucumbers with cookie cutters, into interesting shapes like hearts, stars and diamonds.

Encourage your kids to be imaginative in the kitchen. Give them free reign when decorating their cookies or challenge them to create a fruit-salad rainbow or vegetable animals. Turn it into a contest to see who can come up with the best design. But remember, everyone is a winner as they all get to enjoy a delicious prize.


Get your pre-schoolers involved teaching them about the dough. Helping to roll out or need dough will give their muscles a good workout, and they’ll be amazed when they see the results of their labour.

Children tend to eat more of the healthy food on their plates when they help prepare it. There are lots of tasks that your children can help with. Washing, grating, or mashing are all fun activities for kids. And don’t forget the washing up too!

For fun recipes and more tips, visit the Nestlé for Healthier Kids site:

By Anne-Marie De Beer, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Manager, Nestlé East and Southern Africa

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