Monday, 14 July 2014

Kids in the kitchen

Involving children in food preparation is an easy way to encourage them to eat a varied diet. While tiny tots can watch, older kids like my Eddie who's turning a sage age of 4 this month and who cackles when I call him a wise old elf, can be taught the basics of cooking. Yes, prepare yourself that everything will be messy, that you most likely end up covered in flour or frosting, but cooking is one of the vital skills which we all need to learn. And we do need to start at some point, so make it fun, when you want to encourage your kids to be involved.

There are certain rules, of course, which you need to keep in mind, like safety first of all (sharp knives and hot ovens are better be avoided by little people). Even with the simplest of tasks you should always supervise your mini-chef. Keep the recipes simple. But most important, have fun and enjoy it.
My sons love helping with baking, I can entrust them with a bowl and a big wooden spoon, and later, once the cake or cupcakes are baked, I let them decorate our joint effort with frosting, icing and lots of sprinkles.

It so happened that I was one of the lucky bloggers who were invited to take part in Kids in the kitchen project put together by Betta Living, a well known fitted kitchen retailer. All participants received a huge box of goodies for a fabulous Summer holiday bucket list, which had an activity pack of things to do with children, either in the garden in good weather or at home on a rainy day.

My younger son was very excited when the box arrived, it was like a Christmas in summer for him. He kept taking things out of the box and exclaiming with delight at the Kermit and Miss Piggy masks, gardening tools, skittles as well as cooking and crafting goodies.

We haven't yet used all the things we got, so watch this space for more posts related to this summer project.
In a few days' time we'll say Good bye to the teachers.
Did you know that the cost of keeping a child entertained over the summer holiday is estimated between £1000-1600?  The items in our goodie box cost £50 and it would take more than 20 days to complete all the activities on the bucket list. It's a super list of inspirational projects and activities, and we plan to do as many as we can in the coming weeks. I have been postponing some activities, as my older niece is coming for a month's visit, and I am sure she'll be happy to make a pizza and ice lollies with us, as well as have a good crafting session or two or three.
Last week has seen a mix of rainy and sunny weather. When the sun is out, it's difficult to convince my younger son to do anything indoors, he loves playing in the garden or at the playground nearby. Yet on one of the rainy days we baked some banana cupcakes and played a game of skittles.

Banana cupcakes (makes 10-12)
1 ripe banana, mashed
100g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1/2tsp cinnamon
1tsp vanilla essence
75g golden syrup
2 tbsp ground almonds
150g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
80g butter, melted
for the frosting:
300g icing sugar
40g coconut oil
30ml coconut milk
lots of sprinkles

Mash a banana with a fork in a medium mixing bowl. Add the sugar and eggs, golden syrup, ground almonds and spices and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder and melted butter, keep mixing.
Spoon the cake batter in the paper muffin cases inserted in a cupcake tin tray. Cook in the oven preheated to 180C for about 20 minutes (check with a wooden skewer if they are ready after 15 miutes).
Take the tray out, and let the cupcakes cool completely before decorating.
Beat the icing sugar, coconut oil and coconut milk to make the frosting. Either spoon over the cupcakes, or use a piping bag. Use lots of sprinkles for decoration.

While the cupcakes were cooling down, Eddie and I played skittles to keep him happy.

Then it was time to decorate our yummy cupcakes!

Shake and shake and shake the sprinkles all over
Eddie was very proud of his decorative skills, and enjoyed eating the cupcakes with his big brother as soon as he finished his arty job.

Disclosure: We received a Kids in the Kitchen goodie box for the purposes of writing a blog post.

You can find a full list of 20 Kids in the Kitchen activities on Betta Living.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you might like to know what my friends said about their Kids in the Kitchen activities:
see Betta Living Kids in the Kitchen summer fun ideas by Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews


  1. We had a play with our box over the weekend too - there's so much in it !

    1. I'm keeping some bits for my older niece to join in, I think she will enjoy the challenge.