Something I LOVE to do with my kids is cook. It teaches them super fine motor skills, math, pre-reading, and critical thinking skills. Plus, it’s SCIENCE! And kids are more likely to try or like healthy foods if they help prepare them, so it’s a big part of getting kids to eat healthy. For the past 14 years I have produced a little cookbook with recipes we have made featuring the kids making them.
I give this cookbook as a gift to my daycare parents at Christmas time. I do almost one recipe a day for the month of November. In December, I work up the cookbook. Making sure you get pictures of each child present making each recipe is a challenge, but it’s a keepsake the parents can treasure. In addition, it encourages families to cook together. I have had many parents tell me their kids ask to get the cookbook out and cook a recipe with them. Anything that gives parents a fun activity to do with their kids is a winner in my book.
The first thing I do to prepare for the production of the cookbook is look up recipes I might want to make. I chose several easy recipes, and then add a few more complicated ones to round it out. I love the way cooking with the kids makes them feel. I have had numerous children tell me in their teenage years that cooking was their favorite thing we did here.
Please remember to be patient, mistakes will be made, messes will happen, and it’s time consuming, but oh so worth it!
Secondly, I print each recipe how I plan to make it and make a shopping list to make sure I have all the supplies on hand. This can get pricey, so I choose a few things that can be used for breakfast or lunch for the kids and we eat several of the recipes for snack. I usually let them take servings of one or two of the recipes home to share with their families. It helps Mom and Dad be connected to what we are doing here.
Next, I print up the cover, table of contents, and any other extra pages I need.
After everything is prepared, I choose a recipe for each day and attach it to the wall by the table with sticky tack so we can “read” the recipe together. This helps to show the kids that words have meaning which is an important part of pre-reading.
Then all there is left to do is get great shots of the kids making the recipe. I prepare the ingredients and let them take turns doing whatever job comes next.
Once I have all the pictures taken and all the recipes completed, I order prints to make the cookbook. When they arrive, I glue them onto the recipe pages and send it to the printer. They add a clear cover on the front and a card stock back for me. Generally I have the cookbook printed in black and white and it costs a little under $100 to get enough for each family is serve. This year, however, the printer made an error and I received my cookbooks in color, which would have cost closer to $300 if I had ordered them that way. Happy accident for me.
This cookbook is a very personal gift that can be enjoyed by the whole family and treasured for years. If you don’t teach, they would make GREAT gifts for grandparents or someone like that.
What are some great gifts you have given that are treasured for a long time into the future?