“ KidsAndCooking was formed to offer a unique reference point on encouraging kids in the kitchen. „
We came across www.kidsandcooking.co.uk when we were planning our younger daughter's fourth birthday party. We had decided that we wanted to provide a cooking activity - possibly pizza - so the search was on to find some recipes that would be suitable for four year olds to follow. I think my husband entered some searches along the lines of 'kids making pizzas' and this was a site that showed up. We were really pleased because it's a great site and was exactly what we needed for the party.
When you first arrive at the site you are struck by how colourful and exciting it looks. The heading - kids and cooking - looks as though it has been created from loads of small smarties. It also tells you that on this site you will find lots of great recipes and tips to get kids cooking. This premise is excellent because I certainly don't want my children growing up to think that they can buy everything readymade from the supermarket! If we're not careful, cookery could become a dying art!
On the site there is a side menu which shows you all the different areas you can visit and I will attempt to describe some of the areas that we particularly like. It's very easy to navigate between all the different areas.
The best area for us is the kids' recipes section and believe me there are many to choose from. These are divided up in just the same was as you would find them in a traditional recipe book - meat, fish, vegetarian, biscuits and cookies and so on. And of course, the section we really wanted which was - pizzas and toppings!
In this pizza section there are a couple of recipes for dough mixes. The one we chose for the party was superb and we could not get over what a fantastic texture was created. There is also a recipe for the tomato sauce (nothing out of a jar for us!) and this was also very tasty as well as easy to make. These were things that children could join in with before choosing their own toppings. There are some lovely suggestions for themed pizzas such as cowboy (frankfurters and baked beans) or Meaty Monster (lots of different meats). Having made the pizzas I can vouch that they are very tasty and easy to follow recipes - just right for children!
I have also delved into the cookies and biscuits section and made some cookies with the girls - chocolate wheels and chocolate chip cookies! (My girls do have rather a liking for chocolate!) When you cook, it's best to print off the recipes otherwise you will need to be quiet close to your computer which is probably not the best idea.
To help with some of the recipes there are some accompanying videos so you can watch someone else make the food item first. Luckily there was a video to show how to make the pizzas so we watched this a couple of times before actually making them with the children.
For the party we also used some of the activities from the printable puzzles section. I was slightly worried that some children would finish making their pizza early and I didn't want them waiting with nothing to do so these are ideal. We printed off some cooking with mummy and gingerbread man colouring pictures and also some mixed up meal puzzles. These went down a treat with the children who used them and my daughters have enjoyed doing them since the party.
There are so many tips on this site that I'm sure I've probably only discovered a quarter of them so far. I was interested to read about how you can encourage your children to help make dinner. There are so many helpful small suggestions about all the little things they can do such as involving them in planning meals and shopping for them, getting ingredients out and weighing them. It will take a little longer but it will be promoting an interest in cooking and also, hopefully, healthy eating as well as being fun!
I'm sure that a lot of parents will be interested in the article on picky eaters as most children become one of these at one time or another. There is some practical advice such as don't force feed, and don't give up trying new taste experiences, and then there are some helpful recipes thnat might appeal to your picky eater. At the moment both my girls are going through good phases of eating but I will definitely bear some of these recipes in mind if I need to!
There are many many other articles which offer helpful tips. These include eating out with kids, lunchbox ideas (these are really fab when you are stuck for inspiration), cooking healthy fast food, kitchen safety and food allergies to name just a few.
There is also a fantastic section on food crafts including a very impressive gingerbread house to make. I have to admit that I haven't been brave enough to try this with the girls yet but you never know... maybe one day! There are also ideas for Christmas decorations and dough ornaments.
There are also a couple of quizzes which children will enjoy although probably more aimed at slightly older children than mine.
I have just signed up for the newsletter which comes out monthly but I have not received one yet.
Overall I cannot praise this website enough. I think it's excellent for involving children in cooking and providing recipes for dishes that they will surely love. In fact I think that the recipes are so good, that you can't say that they are just for children - I want to eat them too.
Also, not only does this website encourage children to want to cook but I think that it also encourages parents to want to cook with their children too. Since we have discovered kidsandcooking.co.uk I know that I have been more actively involving my daughters in meal choices and preparation and we are all loving it!