I had a overwhelming amount of parents call me a miracle worker this week.
Yes, it is true. I have a superpower. I can make your child eat their veggies! And they will like them!
"It can't be true! My child? Eating Vegetables?"
*insert more dramatic gasps here*
Ahh, but it is true. Not only did they eat them, they quite enjoyed them.
You too can possess this amazing superpower! Let me teach you the secret.
Are you ready?
Here you go:
Let your child help in the kitchen.
Don't over think it. Don't worry about a mess. (Most of us have many unnecessary messes that we clean up each day... might as well make memorable, educational messes, right?) Just provide them with the correct tools and some quick kitchen safety rules like:
Only use things in the kitchen like knives, stoves, microwaves, peelers, etc when Mommy, Daddy or another adult is helping you. It is unsafe for kiddos to work in the kitchen alone.
Use the moments as teachable moments. Talk about kitchen tools and what they are used for.
Talk about kitchen safety. (umm... like, don't lick the cake batter bowl because raw eggs can make you sick. Parents be good examples.) ;)
Talk about the science behind things.
Teach vocab words like: Boil, Bake, Fry, etc.
Okay, now here is the fun part. Let them dig in and learn by doing. I cannot tell you how important this is. Hands on learning by doing. So important.
Cognitive skills like critical thinking and problem solving.
Science skills (solids to liquids, chemical reactions)
Fine and gross motor skills (stirring, pouring, cutting, mixing)
Math skills (measuring, counting, timing)
Learning to follow directions and trial and error.
And a love for being in the kitchen!
Every preschool day in the month of March, my classes get to help complete a kitchen project. This week we made homemade bread ( I forgot my camera) but they measured, mixed, poured and the most fun part: kneeded the bread! Oh my were they a mess and did they have a great time! They loved, loved, loved it!
We also had a fresh veggie day. Several students were assigned to bring in particular veggies including, green bell pepper, colored bell pepper (orange, red or yellow), celery, heads of cauliflower and broccoli, cucumbers, and baby carrots.
I set the tables up with trays for the kids to use, cutting boards, safety knives ( I got them from Pampered Chef), and tubs of water for washing the veggies.
We read "Muncha, Muncha, Muncha" by Candice Flemming.
Then we talked about why eating veggies is important, how to prepare them, why we need to wash them, what veggies we were using and kitchen safety.
Then I unleashed the little kiddos to get to business. (Aren't their aprons adorable?)
They cut and they cut and they washed and swished.
We even mixed up some ranch dip with an 8 ounce container of sour cream and a packet of ranch seasoning.
We organized the veggies onto trays and decided to let the kiddos serve themselves snack for the first time ever. :)
I asked them to try one piece of each veggie. I also allowed them more than one helping. At first I had a lot of, " I don't like peppers." But after asking them to take a, "Thank You Bite" ( I will explain more about that at the end of the post.) they agreed. I soon heard a chorus of kiddos exclaiming how much they actually LIKED peppers... and broccoli, and carrots, and celery and all the other veggies we had. Not one child (out of about 25) complained. Not one missed out on snack. Most had 3 and 4 helpings. A huge success! A happy teacher! A classroom full of happy kiddos!
So let the kiddos help in the kitchen. Don't underestimate them. Be patient with them.
It will stretch you and grow them.
A little note on "Thank You Bites"
My cousin-in-law, Lynnanne told me about these little gems.
Have the child take one bite of whatever is in front of them to say, "Thank you" to the person who brought or prepared it. If the kids find that they like it... YAY. If not, they are allowed to throw it out. It works like a charm. No pressure. And it teaches them to be polite. I have had several parents use this at home as well. I get several emails each year thanking me for this little trick! Hope it helps you as well!