N loves to help me cook. Actually, maybe not the actual cooking process, more the being able to see what’s going on. He gets really ratty if I’m preparing food and I’ve not pulled a chair over for him to stand on.
It’s really hard to know what age to start cooking with children because let’s face it, it can get messy when there’s flour or eggs around and a child wanting to join in. I started once I could trust N to get safely on and off a kitchen chair, and stay put when I said. Generally I do try and prepare tea while he’s having his nap, then all I have to do is actually cook so there’s less time for him to hang around and get frantic waiting for food. But if he’s around, he wants to be involved. If I start getting chopping boards or food out of the fridge, he’s there, dragging a chair over to the worktop.
I used to give him a box of cloud dough or Tupperware container of waterbeads so he could just play with those while I cooked, but now he wants to ‘help’. He likes to try grating cheese (unsuccessfully), peeling carrots (unsuccessfully), and just yesterday I turned round to find I’d not put the knife far enough out of reach and he’d grabbed that and was trying to cut carrots. Thankfully it was only the small vegetable knife, and he’d grabbed it by the handle. Maybe it’s time to get out his children’s knives so he can learn to use them while eating.
His favourite is whisking. He likes watching me break eggs, shouting “egg” or “butter” when relevant. But he wants to grab a utensil to help.
I think it’s a great idea getting kids involved early. Hopefully he’ll grow up enjoying cooking (as well as eating, which he already loves), and at the moment he’s developing his motor skills as well as learning that he shouldn’t be near the oven as it’s hot.