Are you worried about getting your student or kid in the kitchen because of all the ‘what ifs’ and worst case scenarios? I can understand why you may steer clear of the kitchen or allow your little one(s) to accompany you while cooking or baking. Keep in mind that safety is one of my utmost priorities when cooking with kids! I have a short and sweet list of SEVEN tips to keep in mind and review prior to cooking with your young chef.
Some of the tips below may not apply to the cooking activity you are working on; however, reviewing these tips early & often may prevent any booboos, messes, or burns in the future. By reciting these to your child with the purpose of having them repeat it back could be just one, of many, speech and language targets to hit while cooking! Make it fun by using a cooking spoon as a microphone or pause after each one to discuss WHY this is important. No matter how you review each tip, be sure to let them know SAFETY IS A PRIORITY.
1. Be sure to listen to your helper & follow all directions
Make it known who the ‘helper’ or adult is, and remind the kids that you have their safety in mind. When it comes to following directions, use visuals! It will help increase their attention PLUS ensure that the cooking activity is a SAFE success.
2. Wash your hands before you start cooking
A common trend while washing your hands is to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. Make it fun & sing it out loud! Maybe singing is not your underlying talent, and that is okay. Just be sure to use soap, lather up, and rinse thoroughly!
3. Roll up long sleeves, tie back long hair, & wear an apron to protect clothing (if needed)
Getting kids ready for cooking requires a little bit of planning and maintenance of rollin’ up the sleeves to prepare to get a little messy. You can also have kids wear over sized t-shirts to protect their clothing. No need to wear hairnets or anything crazy, just pull back hair that may fall into their face while cooking!
4. Do not touch any knives without permission
Explaining that knives are used to chop & cut is a simple way to review the safety tip of not touching knives unless given a specific task to need one. Kids are curious, that is an understatement. Avoid any cuts or scratches by keeping knives out of plain reach for the kids! A great alternative is to use popsicle sticks instead of a knife.
5. Use a timer so you do not burn or overcook anything
This can be a dollar tree digital timer, your phone, or even use your stove/microwave to keep an eye on the time. Cooking activities are so much fun that it is very easy to lose track of time. When in doubt, just set the timer! Make it fun by counting down when the timer reads 10 seconds or less.
6. Always use oven mitts when touching or handling anything hot
Review this while letting the kiddos try on the oven mitts. Let them describe how the mitts feel on their hands! Allow them to practice picking up a kitchen tool (like a spoon or bowl) with the oven mitts on.
7. Slowly and carefully lift lids off of hot pots & when stirring hot food.
Just like above, let the kiddos put the mitts on and practice lifting an unused lid or stirring dry ingredients. Explain how hot liquids and metals could potentially burn their skin if caution is not taken by using oven mitts.
While some of these tips may seem tedious or irrelevant to some cooking activities, children learn through experiences. Discuss, repeat, or demonstrate… there is no right or wrong way to review these simple tips for cooking safety with your kids! I can assure you that it is better to be PROACTIVE rather than REACTIVE while cooking with kiddos. Also, do not be afraid to review these during or after cooking; make it stick by repeating more than once!
Did you know all of these safety tips are conveniently found in the Visual Recipe Cards manual for you? Along with the safety tips, you will find 48 incredible kid-friendly recipes with step-by-step procedures to create your next delicious dish or snack! The options & fun are limitless, this I can promise you! My hope is that you found these tips easy, concise, and helpful to navigate cooking up the communication and fun with your children or clients.
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