I am always thinking up cooking games for kids. I don’t mean digital cooking games for kids, like Fruit Ninja, which are really fun but don’t really teach anything about cooking. I’m talking about hands on real life games. Kids need to feel, smell, and taste to get a love for cooking.
When I taught kids cooking classes regularly, I would often come up with different cooking games to help get the kids excited about being in the kitchen. One of my favorite cooking games for kids is the tasting game.
Developing your child’s palate is one of the greatest gifts you can give them when it comes to cooking. It helps them learn to recognize what flavors they love and which ones they don’t. They can also learn to like new flavors as they get older.
COOKING GAMES FOR KIDS – THE TASTING GAME
The tasting game is simple. Line up some little bowls and put a different ingredient into each one. A great start is salt, pepper, lemon juice, honey, and turmeric. This gives very dramatic contrasts between salty, spicy, sour, sweet, and bitter.
With really young kids like Corban, you can explain to them what each taste is. As kids get older, you can give them new ingredients and ask what they think of them.
Corban loves to taste ingredients, so we made a little video to show you how easy it is.
Two key tips for a successful tasting game:
- Try to use simple ingredients. Don’t give them a cookie for sweet, you want them to taste one flavor at a time. Here are some suggestions.
- Sweet: honey, maple syrup, a bing cherry, or a ripe banana.
- Sour: lemon or lime juice, a granny smith apple, or vinegar.
- Bitter: endive, radicchio, turmeric, fresh cranberries, bitter melon, ginseng, tamarind, orange peel, grapefruit (except the Ruby Red variety which is rather sweet), or plain black tea.
- Salty: salt (there are SO many different varieties). You can also try anchovies or anchovy paste, seaweed, and olives.
- Spicy: Be careful with this one, have some milk or other fatty food handy in case they can’t handle the spice. You can use a variety of ground peppers, fresh peppers, or red pepper flakes, hot sauces, and even spices like cloves, or fresh garlic.
- The other tip is to try not to coach a reaction. Don’t act like you expect them not to like sour or bitter, and you might find they really like it! I cannot tell you how many kids I have seen like something (like rhubarb or mustard greens) until their parents say they shouldn’t like it, and then they suddenly don’t.
Do you have any other ideas for cooking games for kids? Would you like us to share more of mine? Let us know in the comments!
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MINI CHEF MONDAYS
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