Enter “Kids Make Dinner Night”

A month ago, a friend said her six and eight-year-olds take turns making dinner once a week, and after I managed to close my mouth, Voila! “Kids Make Dinner Night” was born at our house, too.

We’ve done it twice now, with the six-year-old going first and choosing to make vegetarian chili with buttered egg noodles.  Success.  The four-year-old decided to make “crunchy fish” and “camel broccoli” (Romanesco broccoli to those not in the know–it looks sort of like a cactus, which a camel would have no problem eating, I guess.)  Turns out this involves zero real cooking, but still, success!

How we are doing it:  On Sunday, they tell me what they want to make.  Monday, I either get it myself, or I bring the four-year-old along, depending on whether she needs an example of what true boredom looks like, or not.  Tuesday, the child makes dinner (with assistance from me) and the other child gets to set the table however they want (You would be surprised at the yelling matches configurations that can occur with only four people.)

I want them to learn how to cook, for now and for later in life.  I want them to know how much work goes into planning, buying, prepping and cooking.  I want them to try new foods and I want most of all for them to be grateful when someone else (especially me) makes them dinner.

Both kids are on board with this and immediately had a long argument about who got to make dinner first.  I haven’t established any rules about what is acceptable dinner fare yet, but I have a feeling, come Sunday night I’m going to have to make a rule “No, you can’t make chili every time it is your turn.”

Anyway, as luck would have it, I found a cooking class for kids, ages 2-6, for this past Saturday morning.  It was a little pricey, but both kids were excited when I brought it up.  “This hands-on and interactive class will help give children the confidence to try new foods. We will prepare some fun and healthy recipes using all the springtime ingredients! Parents are encouraged to participate or watch. Includes recipe packet and coloring sheets to take home.”

It was a fun little class.  We made granola collectively then Bugs on a Log and mini hummus pizzas individually.  My son was the oldest in the class at six, but didn’t seem to mind at all (especially when I pointed that out, and told him I was proud of how patient and well-mannered he is.)  Both kids want to go again, to the “big kid” class for 5 to 12 year-olds.  Yay!

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4 thoughts on “Enter “Kids Make Dinner Night”

  1. Aww, love this. And yes, kids cooking is not only adorable, but also a major pain in the butt and slow and annoying, but it will be worth it when they’re 10 and can fly solo, preparing gourmet meals with complete competence and independence. Right? Eyes always on the prize.

    1. The stuff they made, absolutely. The young lass was a bit choosy and bitter about the chili and tonight’s dinner of real chicken as she tells us she only likes “fake chicken”. One small victory at a time.

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