As a mom of two little guys, I know how hard it is to get dinner on the table. But sometimes, you just need to slow down and use the time to not just make dinner, but teach your kids some life lessons. In my case, Will loves to help me cook. Doesn’t matter what I’m making he loves it. He follows directions and pays attention. For a 3 1/2 year old, this is huge. Especially for one that is a wee bit temperamental. He’s a guy who wants things his way, and now. Come to think of it, he may make a great chef one day. I hear some of the world’s best are the same way (if you watch Hell’s Kitchen, you understand).
Tonight, we were having stuffed chicken breasts, roasted vegetables and dumplings. I bought the chicken stuffed from the meat counter at our store, which has a wonderful selection of these types of foods. Will wanted to help get the veggies ready and make the dumplings.
So, I let him help me arrange the veggies, put the olive oil on, and salt and pepper them before they went into the oven. I think this helps him follow direction, plus by mixing them with his hands, he gets the feel of different things. Oily, salty smooth, leafy.
Onto the dumplings. I got all of the ingredients ready, but I let him mix everything himself. After I measured out the dry ingredients, he mixed them together and we talked about why you do that. Next, cracking the egg and mixing it into the milk, again why it’s done that way. And finally, the mixing of everything together to make our dumpling.
He’s actually gotten pretty good at cracking eggs. And that certainly is a life skill. I think it’s important that kids understand the science behind cooking, and how the ingredients affect each other, as much as how to follow directions. He certainly doesn’t get what baking powder does now, but when they use it in science at preschool, hopefully he’ll remember what it did to his dumpling.
If you’re interested in making these wonderful dumplings, here’s the link to an earlier post for Donna’s Dumplings. So easy, even a 3 1/2 year old can make them!