This post is from Christie at Childhood101. Christie has a fabulous blog which is a great resource for parents and has a philosophy I strongly believe in – that play is a critical factor in early childhood development. Childhood101 is a finalist for the parenting category of the Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards being held in Malaysia this weekend – good luck Christie, we hope you win!

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Cooking With Kids
My daughter has been involved with cooking since she was old enough sit up. My husband or I would sit her alongside where we were preparing a meal and talk to her about what we were doing – showing her the ingredients, encouraging her to touch and smell them, and (when she was old enough) to taste them too. Cooking with young children is a wonderful way to engage their senses, and by doing so, you are helping to develop and reinforce important learning pathways within the brain.

Now, at almost four years of age, Immy loves to help with all sorts of processes in the kitchen – cutting, mashing, whisking, juicing, stirring, crushing with a mortar and pestle, as well as helping to care for and harvesting herbs and vegetables from our simple backyard vegetable garden.

We don’t cook together everyday but it is the everyday meal preparation that she is mostly involved in – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, much more than any planned one-off “let’s cook ___ together” experiences. In this way, I hope that we are helping her to develop an important life skill, the ability to one day cook to feed herself, her friends and family.

Of course, having one child helps when it comes to managing little helping hands in the kitchen. Though having taught classes of many small children, I would suggest breaking the cooking experience into small steps and helping your children to navigate the idea of taking turns, “Charlie is cracking the egg and then Lucy will have a turn to add the milk.” Or, if your children are old enough, why not allocate one meal a week for them to assist with – it doesn’t have to be dinner, making lunch and snacks together on the weekend can be just as much fun.

One easy snack that we love to make is dip! Guacamole, french onion, beetroot…we have tried them all.

Child-Friendly Tzatziki (Cucumber & Yoghurt) Dip

Tzatziki Dip Recipe
You will need:

  • 175gm tub natural yoghurt
  • 1 medium Lebanese cucumber, peeled
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1t lemon juice

To prepare:

  1. Cut the peeled cucumber in half lengthways and allow your child to scrape out the pips with a spoon. Depending upon their age, allow them to grate the peeled cucumber as well.
  2. Crush garlic (a garlic crusher or mortar and pestle are lots of fun!)
  3. Combine yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and lemon juice.

Serve with your favourite vegetables, crackers or pita bread. We’re taking ours to enjoy at Carols by Candlelight tonight :) .

Tzatziki Dip Recipe – one the kids can help you make!
 
Author::
Recipe type: finger food
Ingredients:
  • 175gm tub natural yoghurt
  • 1 medium Lebanese cucumber, peeled
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1t lemon juice
Method:
  1. Cut the peeled cucumber in half lengthways and allow your child to scrape out the pips with a spoon. Depending upon their age, allow them to grate the peeled cucumber as well.
  2. Crush garlic (a garlic crusher or mortar and pestle are lots of fun!)
  3. Combine yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and lemon juice.
  4. Serve with your favourite vegetables, crackers or pita bread.

 

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Play Grow Learn
If you would like to find other snacktime recipe ideas for cooking with kids, you should check out Issue 2 of Play Grow Learn published by Christie.

Play Grow Learn is an e-magazine (downloadable printable pdf file) with over 50 pages of ideas, activities and printables for 0-5 year olds. Perfect timing with the summer holidays about to start.

Do you have a favourite recipe you like to make with the kids?

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5 comments...read them below or add one

  • Brooke {Slow Your Home} December 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    This looks like an awesome recipe! I’ve been after a few easy, healthy options for Isy and I to make together. She’s much more likely to eat something we prepare together – and I find dip and carrot/celery sticks is a consistent winner.

    Thanks!!

    • Christie-Childhood 101 December 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      Immy (who is almost 4) loves this dip, Brooke. Dip is such a winner in our house too :)

  • Maxabella December 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    But it’s greeeeeeen, Nic… x

    • Christie-Childhood 101 December 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      It’s not very green, Bron, you peel the cucumber first :)

  • Kathy December 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Love the recipe and could not agree more about the value and benefit of involving kids in cooking early on. I like to get all three of mine into the kitchen with me … although, admittedly, usually only one or two at a time, all three plus me equals one very overcrowded tiny galley kitchen!