One of my favorite memories from childhood is cooking with my mother. Wearing our matching aprons, we would bake cookies, birthday cakes, lasagna . . . all kinds of things. The meals and sweets we made together always had the best flavor.
Carrying on that tradition, I regularly cook and create in the kitchen with my own children.
In fact, they've always been close to the process. From in utero to being worn in the baby carrier and later sitting on the counter and helping mommy stir the pancake batter, the kids have always been a part of the cooking.
Of course, the older they get, the more they can help and do independently. Below you'll find five of our favorite foods to make together.
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1. Chocolate Chip Cookies
This oldie but goodie is a staple in our home. Together, we cook up big batches of cookies, eating some, and putting the rest in the freezer for later.
Chocolate chip cookies are an easy dessert, but also make a fun snack.
If you teach your children about service and doing for others, taking cookies to the neighbors (or anyone really!) is always a nice thing to do and generally very appreciated.
Pancakes are absolutely our favorite breakfast. They come together quickly and after a couple times helping, the kids can make them on their own, with your supervision of course.
Pancakes are a great make-ahead meal. Once they're cooled, put them in a freezer baggie and freeze for a quick meal another day.
Every Friday night in the Do Nascimento house is Pizza Night. We have had this family tradition for years and it's something the kids have come to look forward to each week.
We make the dough in the bread machine and then let everyone take part in adding the toppings. This is our absolute favorite recipe for bread machine pizza dough.
4. Cinnamon Rolls
Another of our weekly meals is cinnamon rolls. Saturday morning means cinnamon rolls in our home. Since they are made in the bread machine and rolled out the night before, it's just a quick matter of pre-heating the oven and baking them in the morning.
Once the kids hit about three-years-old, they are able to slather the butter and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon on the dough before I roll it up and let my six-year-old slice them and put them in the baking pan to rise.
While they cook on Saturday morning, I let one child make the icing and then when they come out of the oven, a different child gets to ice them.
I know this sounds plain, but hear me out. Have you ever seen the smile on a child's face after they've made their own sandwich for the first time?
Whether it be peanut butter and honey, cold cuts and cheese, or tomato and mayonnaise (my six-year-old's favorite), kids take a lot of pride in crafting their own food . . . even if it's just a sandwich.
A few things to keep in mind when cooking with kids
Kids are messy.
We all know that's true, but do you know what else is true that we tend to forget?
Kids are washable.
As is the counter, floor, cooking utensils, and pretty much everything else in your home.
As messy as cooking with kids can be, it's an amazing experience for them. They're learning life skills, making memories, bonding with you, creating . . . and if your family is like mine, they'll one day carry on this tradition with their own children. Won't you be glad to be a part of that?