Out of Ideas for Play Dates? Try Cooking!

Kids and their mother preparing a pizzaBelow is a guest post by Dana Livingston is a writer for a culinary arts website where you can browse schools and the latest trends in the culinary arena.

You’ve tried every possible activity to keep your kids and their friends entertained. They are sick of movies and bored with board games. They’ve outgrown dolls and the desire to play dress up. Even riding around on the back of your Great Dane has lost its appeal. And yet, you aren’t quite ready to send them off to the park or the mall on their own to get into who knows what kind of mischief. If you’ve run out of ideas for ways to keep your children occupied when they have play dates, then perhaps a little time in the kitchen should be on your menu. There are plenty of reasons why a cooking play date is just the thing to keep your kids occupied for the afternoon.

1. They’ll learn a new skill. The ability to prepare food and a basic knowledge of nutrition is essential to life. And while kids may be reticent to help around the house when they see it as a chore, turning cooking into a fun activity that they can perform with their friends will make it appear infinitely more inviting. They’re going to have to learn to cook eventually, so why not start them young by making it fun?

2. Making food is multi-functional. We all know that cooking is a way to fulfill our need for nutrition while creating the variety that we crave. However, there’s a lot more to having your kids help you cook. It is not only a way to engage idle hands and minds, it can also serve as an outlet for creativity, a way to save money (make personalized pizzas at home instead of going to a restaurant), and an avenue of success that will improve your child’s confidence in their abilities.

3. You’re there to supervise. Sure, you could let them run around the neighborhood like wild banshees or lock themselves in their bedroom with an Xbox for hours on end, but wouldn’t you rather keep an eye on them? Although allowing them access to the stove and microwave could be dangerous if they were left unattended, getting involved in teaching them new recipes will offer you a built-in excuse for close proximity.

4. It’s a positive way to interact with your kids. All parents want to feel like they are imparting useful knowledge to their children. And kids, whether they admit it or not, are eager to learn anything and everything they can. Get them involved in every step of the process, from choosing recipes to shopping at the market, measuring and mixing ingredients, and getting creative with the plating. Don’t forget to let them do it for themselves, even if they make mistakes, and encourage them try new things and make a dish their own.

5. Everyone needs friends, including you. Cooking is not only a good way for you to interact with your kids and for your kids to interact with their peers. It can also be a great way for you to get in touch with other moms. If you make it a play date for both kids and parents, you may make a new friend and squeeze in a little adult conversation on the side.

Dana Livingston is a writer for a culinary arts website where you can browse schools and the latest trends in the culinary arena.

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