Health

Kitchen capers

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and a great place to make a connectivity with children, as well encouraging them to eat well. What’s more, they’re learning maths and science without even being aware of it! Homeware and ceramics brand Denby share their top tips for making the kitchen fun.

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Recent research reveals that one in five children consume 78 per cent of their calories from ultra-processed foods, putting them at risk from obesity. Poor eating choices can even affect your child’s mental wellbeing and fussy eating can be a sign that your child's emotional cup is full. Helping children to develop a positive relationship with food will give them a great start in life, as well as lots of pleasure.

Poor eating choices can even affect your child’s mental wellbeing and fussy eating can be a sign that your child's emotional cup is full.

Letting children loose in the kitchen might be a slightly daunting prospect for some parents! But it’s an excellent place for fostering early development, especially on a rainy afternoon or over the holiday period when you’re looking for something to do together. Cooking is not only a great sensory activity, but it can also help children learn about measuring, budgeting and patience. Try these key ways to make it an engaging experience for everyone.

Make it a learning curve

If your child has been begging for a science kit, the kitchen is the perfect place to demonstrate some cool new experiments. As well as requiring maths skills for measuring ingredients and literacy for reading and interpreting recipes, cooking is a science in itself: explaining the physical process of cooking or the chemical reactions between different ingredients allows your child to see science being applied to real life. You might ask them what colour or texture they expect combined ingredients to be, or host a mini quiz to work out different measurements.

Depending on their age, you might give them the important job of measuring out ingredients on the scale, or task them with adding up, or dividing different quantities to cater for the number of people you’re serving. Watching the process of a recipe being performed into a dish and tweaking the ingredients to suit the family feels like a science experiment in itself. Even better, you get to eat the results!

You could turn the cooking activity into a game for extra fun: for instance, see who can decorate the best cupcake or who can get the most accurate measurement on the scale without looking. Try to keep your family time in the kitchen positive and engaging.

creating a cooking contest is a great way of making the kitchen fun as children get older

Offer incentives

Many children are excited to get involved with cooking, but others might need a little encouragement. Giving younger children their own dinner set can help them feel more involved with mealtimes. Not only will a special ceramic set make them feel like one of the grown-ups, but this can also get them involved with setting the table when dinner is almost ready. They can even pick out a set in their favourite colour or pattern — anything that gets them excited about sitting down for a meal with the family is a plus!

Set up a competition

If your family thrives off a little healthy competition, creating a cooking contest is a great way of making the kitchen fun as children get older. For instance, you might pick a weekend to host your own version of the popular TV cooking show Come Dine With Me. Each family member could be given their very own cooking task, depending on their age and stage, and you could even throw your own family dinner party, awarding a ‘winning dish’ at the end. This might even become a family tradition that you continue as they grow up into adults, helping you make memories over the years while enjoying delicious food!

Visit www.denbypottery.com

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