It’s always fun to cook and bake with your kids, especially when they’re little. Plus, the experience can be very educational.
The whole process of preparing different foods is a great way to have kids practice many of the skills that they’ll need when they enter school. Besides teaching kids to do things like sort and count, cooking can help young children build up the fine motor skills they’ll need to write.
So, as you gather favorite family recipes into your recipe binder, be sure to include some finger-exercising fun with recipes that even the youngest member of your brood can pitch in to make. In other words, have recipes that require some kneading, and remember: the gooier, the better.
One food that works great for this activity is meatloaf because it’s so easy and versatile. Almost any meatloaf recipe will do – even those that don’t require meat, and the finished product can be formed into almost any shape that the kids can come up with – from a simple loaf-pan shape to a mummy body with strategically placed catsup details.
To make the meatloaf, just put all of the ingredients into a bowl for the kids to mush together until the texture is even or their arms are tired. Then, the kids can plop the mixture into a pan and shape it anyway they want to, like play dough.
Once it’s formed, put the meatloaf into the oven and bake it as usual, but pay careful attention to any narrow edges of the loaf. Cover them with a bit of foil to prevent overcooking until the last 10 minutes or so of cooking.
When dinner time comes around, the kids will love showing off – and eating -their creation. And you’ll enjoy seeing the pride on their faces as you announce what a wonderful job they did making such a delicious dinner. Mmm Mmm good!