Christmas Fun in the Kitchen
One of my favorite things to do with my kids is cook. Not only is it a great way to cut down on my own chores list, but it’s an easy way to interact with your kids and learn more about their lives. Christmas-time may be hectic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to cook with your kids. If you look at the opportunity right, your kids can be big helpers during this stressful time.
If you’re having a traditional Christmas party – or attending a pot luck style party, have your child commit to making his or her own dish. Whether it’s an appetizer or a dessert, the final product will be something that he can say “I made it all by myself!” Even a 4 or 5 year old child can assemble a simple recipe if it’s age-appropriate. Perhaps your child could make a Cool Whip Pumpkin Pie or some Veggie Dip. Supervise for safety, but try to encourage your child to do most of the assembly himself.
Busy Night Buffet
If you know you’re about to have one of “those nights” where you have 20 different tasks to do before bed, enlist help. Have smorgasbord or buffet supplies on hand in your fridge for just this type of emergency. With little help, your child can set up a sandwich, potato, salad, taco or pizza bar. Simply have the supplies on hand and assist with anything that’s unsafe (possibly warming or cutting, depending on the age of the child).
Here’s what you’ll need for each type of buffet. You’ll notice that most of the ingredients are interchangeable.
Salad – Lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, sunflower seeds, dressing, cheese cubes or shredded cheese, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, mushroom, onion, shredded carrots, radishes, meat (grilled shrimp or chicken), and bacon bits.
Sandwich – Bread (wheat, rye, buns) or tortillas, lunch meat or tuna salad or egg salad, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, pickles, sliced tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, mustard, mayo, and anything else your family loves.
Potato – Baking potatoes, sour cream, salsa, butter, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, cheese cubes or shredded cheese, tomatoes, peppers, onion, meat (grilled shrimp or chicken), chives and bacon bits.
Taco – Taco shells or tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, meat (taco meat, grilled shrimp or chicken), and refried beans.
Pizza – Pizza crust or English Muffins, pizza sauce, meats, cheese and toppings of choice.
One of the easiest ways to spark a love of cooking is to make cookies or cupcakes and decorate them. Include everything from sprinkles to gel frosting. You’ll be teaching both art and cooking in one activity. Of course, all cookies for Santa need to be decorated, as well!
These are just a few of the many ways you can have your little helpers build confidence and learn life skills this Christmas season.
Nicole Dean is a co-founder of Kids Activity Calendar – www.KidsApprovedMeals.com/KAC – a resource to help parents teach their kids the alphabet in a fun, positive way.