Let’s cook together over the holidays

Little hands can help! Holiday vacation is an excellent time to teach children and grandchildren basic food preparation skills, reports Extension Educator Cami Wells. Give children the gift of knowledge and abilities that will last a lifetime. Here are a few benefits to spending time preparing food with kids:
    Cooking builds confidence. Helping in the kitchen builds early skills of independence. Most kids feel proud and important when they help prepare food. Children feel like they are accomplishing something and contributing to the family.
    Kitchen tasks give children a chance to measure, count and see food change, which is a great introduction to math and science learning. Children can learn new words and symbols by cooking with adults. Read words together on recipes and food containers. Cleanup teaches responsibility. Everyone needs to contribute the meal preparation and cleanup.
Children may try new and healthy foods. Children engaged in tactile experiences, such as handling foods, have less food neophobia (food fear) and greater acceptance of eating a variety of foods.
    Cooking together is fun family time. Kitchen time offers a special opportunity in parenting. Cooking together creates closer bonds and lifelong memories. It gives parents and children time together to talk and share thoughts and stories. Preparing food is also an occasion to spend some time away from screens.

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