Most kids are highly aware of and interested in food – just watch preschoolers play at cooking, shopping and eating. Meal preparation provides terrific opportunities for fun family bonding, for kids to learn about cooking and nutrition, and to allow family members to feel and be useful.
At age-appropriate levels, have kids help pick recipes and plan meals, brainstorm and write shopping lists, go shopping, measure or cut food, and set and clear the table. Older children can make a dish for a family potluck or create their own special meal.
The following projects are especially fun, rewarding and easy, both to make and to eat. And if some of the processes involved feel like playing, so much the better! Enlist your young sous chef to help crack eggs, crush fruit, place sprinkles on cookies, and enjoy that tactile mainstay, rolling and kneading dough.
Photos: Martha Stewart, Mark Flickett, Susan Sachs Lipman
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