I don't know how it is in your house but all normal craft activities have been totally overshadowed by Christmas presents. In our case, Lego. My son got quite a bit of Lego for Christmas, and this morning we finally made the last set, a car from the Lego City range.
It's all good though. Doing Lego helps a lot with his fine motor skills, and builds up the strength in his fingers that's needed for clicking the bricks together. It is also teaching him how to follow instructions and just as importantly, he is learning that a task is made up of steps that need to be followed in the correct order to be completed.
That's similar to cooking - baking in particular. He's been keen on helping in the kitchen since he could toddle, and loves nothing more than making a cake. My New Year's Resolution was to get him cooking on his own. He's five and a half, so that's plenty old enough to make dishes unsupervised (as long as they don't involve the oven that is!).
My friend does the same and her six year old is now quite adept at making lunch for the whole family - she does a salad and sandwiches. This has given her daughter a lot of confidence, and satisfaction. Cooking is also good in other areas too. It is both maths and science in action. They learn how to measure, and how fractions work in dividing up ingredients. It's also often a lot like a chemistry lesson too - you can combine two substances to end up with something completely different. Add heat and you've a liquid. That sort of thing.
I decided to start with the Avocado dip, reasoning that it looks fairly healthy and anything that encourages him to eat green things has to be good. And surely if he makes it, he'll want to try eating it?
This is her recipe, which she downloaded from a website on Kids Cooking Lessons (quite a handy site to use if you want to get your children cooking independently, it has a fairly good lesson plan to follow).
The recipe practices stirring, which is an area my son needs to work on as it takes a bit of elbow grease to stir properly and we're working on building up his core strength. Wash hands before starting, of course.
You will need:
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tomato chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
The adult has to cut the avocado in half and take the pip out. After that you can leave it up to the child. Just be prepared for mess! Scoop out the flesh with a spoon, into a bowl. Mash this with a fork. This is the bit where having a third avocado handy is a good thing, as son learnt the valuable lesson that pressing really hard and suddenly on the side of a bowl that you've not got a grip on WILL send mushy avocado spinning out the side of the bowl and down the front of your clothes.
Note to self. Buy son an apron.
Add in the other ingredients and stir, stir, stir! Making this a bit of fun may help, especially if they're struggling with it a little bit to start with. We now have a special 'stir stir stir' dance, sung to the tune of the Bay City Rollers 'Bye Bye Baby'.
Son was really very proud of his food that he made "all by myself!" (Sorry that's not a picture of it to the right, that's just a generic guacamole dip photo that I found. I didn't photograph the finished result like I normally would. Son was just so pleased with it and wanted to take it in and share it there and then that it seemed a shame to spoil the moment with a photo break. Sometimes you just have to keep the memories in your head!
Did he eat any of it though? Nope, not a speck. Not even a lick. All the tortilla chips went though. You win some (he cooked), you lose some (he didn't eat). In case you're wondering why, in the picture at the top of this post, he is wearing a cowboy hat the answer is simple. All chefs wear hats (gosh don't mummys know anything?)! And that's the only one he has.
Got any other no bake cooking ideas that have worked for you? I'm definitely up for any ideas!
TOPICS: Retraining / Open University