Getting Kids Involved in Outdoor Cooking

While the grill seems to be the territory of adults alone, that doesn’t mean your children need to be completely excluded from the fun of outdoor cooking.  You can teach your children to be an active part of the cooking process while also teaching them to be safe. Here are some ways to get your children involved.

First of all, when you are preparing for outdoor cooking, let your children be a part of the planning process.  They can easily come to the store with you to choose the foods you will grill.  In fact, you might want to let them choose things that you weren’t going to add to the cooking plan.  This way, you can both find out what they taste like when they are cooked.  You can also have your children help you with cleaning the veggies before you cut them.  If they are older, they can help you with cutting the veggies and other ingredients you might be using.

You can also have them add the marinade to the dishes in which you place the meats and veggies.  You can also have them pick out the sauces they might want to use on their meal.  You can also add food coloring to some sauces to make things even sillier – try adding blue food coloring to mayonnaise, for example or to mustard to turn it green.

If you’re having a children’s themed outdoor cooking event, you might want to pull out some old cookie cutters.  You can let your children cut any buns or breads you might be serving with these cutters, making fun shapes for their sandwiches.  Children can also use cookie cutters to make fun shapes in pieces of cheese. Or they can use ketchup and mustard to decorate plates.

Your children can also help by donning an apron while they ‘help’ their parent watch the grill.  They can be the one to put sauce on the brush and then brush the meats with sauce if they can reach the surface of the grill.  You might also want to have your child help to bring the cooked foods over to the table when they are ready.  They can announce that everything is ready, making them feel like a very important part of the process.

Children who are older can help to make side dishes for the outdoor cooking meal, while younger children can help by setting the table or by watching mom and dad cook.  You might also want to have your child stir things you might be cooking.  Find different ways that your child can help, no matter what their age and ability might be.

The point of getting children involved is to teach them about cooking and about how to make healthy food.  You might want to take this time to teach them about how good veggies are for them and about how they will grow big and strong when they eat certain foods.

As your children grow older, you can slowly teach them more grilling skills and eventually they can take on the cooking process themselves.