Tips to Get Kids Involved Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner
Parenting is relentless, and we’re always find new ways during the pandemic, to bring our families closer together and create new activities and memories. This Thanksgiving is no different. Below are a few tips on how to get kids involved in Thanksgiving from start to finish:
By Wanda Lopez, My Sweet Zepol
How to involve your kids leading into, during, and after Thanksgiving dinner:
- Basic life skills. Cooking is such an essential and basic life skill. Children who are invited to learn about cooking, from picking out the fruit and vegetables whether in your garden or the grocery store, increases the likelihood that your kiddo will try the final meal. Creating curiosity to explore different tastes that represent a variety of cultures, traditions, and perspectives is always important.
- Ownership and organization. Unloading groceries is an exercise that provides kids with a basic sense of responsibility and contribution to the upkeep of your family home. Understanding where everything goes can help kids keep the house organized far beyond “putting the milk” away.
- Food hygiene and preparation. Teaching children about the importance of washing produce is similar to teaching children about washing their hands. It’s a good opportunity to educate your little ones on the importance of food hygiene, importance of water, handling and storing of foods.
- Measurement. Learning the measurement system is an important skill to cooking. Measuring and pouring seasonings and other ingredients into designated bowls for different steps of your recipe helps children learn about following a process, with a delicious outcome.
- Learning about tools. Safety in the kitchen is paramount. There are some great kitchen tools made for kids such as safety knives, spatulas and whisks. Use of knives should always be with parental supervision, but there are smaller tasks such as asking your kids to spread butter, on Thanksgiving rolls, or using a child-safe can opener, or using a garlic press.
- STEAM. Kids involved with cooking also develop fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, and even early concepts of math and science and visual art. Being able to look at a dish and say “I can” make that or “I will” experiment is an attitude that will help them learn and grow not only in the short term, but the long run.
- Importance of having conversations about health. What are healthy ingredients aka “eating the rainbow” and defining healthy eating habits are lifelong important habits. Not only is cooking at home with your children a way to save money, but it’s also an opportunity to talk about health.
- Family traditions. Thanksgiving is a great seasonal moment to pass down recipes and traditions. There’s no better time to express gratitude and thankfulness. Many of our family recipes are passed down from generation to generation like this Cream Cheese Flancocho dessert. Everyone loves this cake and custard combination. This is a crowd-pleasing dessert that my family asks for every year.
There’s no denying that involving kids in the kitchen gives them a sense of belonging and a sense of pride in the making of the meal everyone is about to enjoy. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with love, thankfulness, and your family. Cheers to you!