Today we welcome guest author Carrol Murphy. Caroll is a writer from the Midwest who runs an annual children’s hospital charity at her church. Caroll shares some great gift ideas for your mini-chef.
Kids just think it’s fun, but cooking actually helps them learn. According to Kids Health, cooking gives school-age children the chance to work on math skills and develop an appreciation for healthy eating. Teens take another step towards independence when they learn how to prepare their favorite foods, and exploring foreign cuisines is like an impromptu lesson in world culture.
Keeping kids safe in the kitchen is a top priority. In addition to clear instructions and careful supervision, you can make the process more kid-friendly with some special tools. For your kitchen or for a thoughtful gift to a family with young children, kid-friendly cooking gadgets are a smart idea this holiday season.
Kids who are not yet old enough to chop with a knife can still help cut ingredients with a pair of safety scissors. Let the little ones can cut herbs and soft fruits and vegetables with the same kind of round-end scissors they use in preschool. Find safety scissors at the craft store or any discount store with a good selection of school supplies.
Not only are they fun to use, but vegetable choppers are efficient and safe. Hands never touch anything sharp. The OXO Chopper is a good buy and is simple for kids to operate. Mom or Dad place veggies in the hopper and Junior simply presses down on the top knob to chop. Another great thing about a chopper is the ability to control the size of the chop. With a few extra pushes on the knob you can go from rough chop to a fine mince. Find the OXO Chopper at Macy’s in-store or online.
Overstock recommends using a pasta machine with children because it promotes team work and, of course, making your own spaghetti is a lot of fun. True, homemade pasta night may be more of a weekend activity, but you can always make extra and save it in the refrigerator for a quick weeknight meal. What busy family doesn’t like that? The Imperia Pasta Machine is a quality, hand-crank machine made from stainless steel. The brand offers several models at a variety of price points. Find the Imperia brand at Williams and Sonoma and Amazon.
Kids know when they’re helping and when they’re being given a “busy job.” Putting them in charge of the salad spinner is a little bit of both. Even a toddler can figure out how to plunge most spinners – it’s not that different from using a toy top. Spinning the salad dry is so much like playing it may be a while before they ask for another job. In the inexpensive category, Kitchen Daily recommends the Farberware Soft Grip, available at Walmart. If you’re able to spend a bit more consider the stainless steel OXO Good Grips with a locking hand pump and instant-stop button in case the kids get carried away. Find it at Amazon.
Safety knives are the smart choice for your budding chef. The Curious Chef brand makes high quality, functional knives for children ages 4 and older. The handles on these knives were designed especially for small hands, making them even safer to use than a regular knife. The brand offers a full line of practical and colorful kitchen supplies for young cooks.