Friday, August 04, 2006

Vegetarian Fun Food for Young Kids

Vegetarian Fun Food for Young Kids

Cooking with the participation of my children and their friends has always been an instant spirit-lifter for all. I found this activity particularly successful when my sons and their friends were between the ages of 5 and 8, when hand-eye coordination is excellent and the willingness to do adult-supervised activity is still a plus.

By the age of 3, children can pour measured ingredients into bowls, peel bananas, tear lettuce, open packages, sort ingredients, and place toppings on food. From ages 4 and up they can help grease pans, knead and shape dough, slice soft foods like bananas, attempt to measure accurately, wash fresh produce, and spread jam, margarine, or peanut butter.

Cooking teaches children the spirit of cooperation, a little bit of math, and a smidgen of chemistry. But best of all is that it teaches them to appreciate the effort and artistry that goes into the preparation of food. And when that lesson sinks in, they're far more likely to eat something if they've helped make it!

Here are several tried-and-true hands-on food projects, some more involved than others, that my kids and their friends have enjoyed when they were young and were most often requested.