6 Tips to Get Grilling with Your Kids This Summer
Make Menu Planning a Family Affair
Kids love to be part of the things we do, so menu planning as a family makes the meal more meaningful to your kids. Children are also more apt to try new foods when it’s something they’ve helped plan and prepare. Let them browse online for fun recipes or get out the old cookbooks!
Bring Up Your Own Little Sous Chefs
One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to be my mom’s little sous chef. She would tell me what I needed to do, teach me what I didn’t know and really let me be part of the whole cooking process. Get your own kids involved by having them wash the veggies, help make the marinade for the meat, thread the kabobs, learn to season the meat and veggies and begin doing some chopping and dicing with a kid safe knife. There’s no definitive time when a child is deemed ready to use a real knife—use your own judgement and gage the readiness and maturity of your child. They can practice by using a butter knife and a banana or a stick of butter.
Prep the Grill Together
As you know, grills get very hot! Teaching your child the potential dangers of being around a hot grill is crucial. They need to know how far to stand back from it when it’s on, what it can potentially do if you’re not careful and how to handle injuries associated to the grill. While it’s still important to have an adult with a child around a grill at all time, they can be part of the initial set-up of the grill, where to put wood chips, charcoal, propane. It’s also important to explain how it all works to help you cook delicious foods. Once familiar with being around the grill while heated, they can help flip the burgers, rotate the veggies,
It’s the Perfect “Season” to Grill Together
Creating marinades and seasoning the meat and veggies before they go on the grill is one of the most perfect jobs for kids. It’s a fairly easy, fun task for younger kids, it helps them learn measurements, and how different flavors and spices can work together to make some of their favorite foods yummy! Developing a taste for different spices is super beneficial for their ever changing and growing palate.
Set a Fun and Festive Tablescape Together
Setting the table in a festive way for your family meal is half the fun. Let the kids lay out a tablecloth, the plates and silverware, fill the glasses with water or lemonade and make homemade place cards with each family member’s name on it. Each step in the family meal process helps children develop a love and commitment to the family meal time. The more important you make it, the more important it will become to them as the traditions become permanent.
Clean-up, Clean-up, Everybody Clean-up!
While not as fun as cooking, cleaning up is an important part of the cooking process. Teach your kids young that cleaning up is a family event and they’ll grow up knowing it’s just something you do together. They can help with washing, drying, and putting away dishes. Be creative and don’t be afraid to make this part of the process fun!