(Family Features) - When looking for family activities to keep your children busy this summer, you might want to consider cooking. Easy- to-make and great tasting "kid-friendly" recipes can make time in the kitchen a fun activity for the whole family.
"Getting your kids involved with dinnertime is such a great way to connect as a family," said Julie Edelman, author of the kids cookbook Once Upon A Recipe. "And, research has shown that when kids are involved in meal planning and preparation they are much more likely to eat what they're served."
Before cooking with children, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure the project is fun and successful for everyone.
Wash your hands first. Make sure every child washes their hands before cooking and sees that you do the same. It's never too early to teach good sanitary habits!
Choose your projects carefully. When choosing a recipe, it is important to consider both the age and ability of the children that will be helping.
Organize projects ahead of time. Keep kids from becoming impatient by getting the ingredients and any necessary cooking utensils ready before the kids come into the kitchen.
Demonstrate the proper use of utensils and electric appliances. Teach children to always cut away from themselves when using a knife, and do any complicated cutting yourself. Always supervise kids whenever electric appliances are used.
Celebrate success. Be ready to praise any creation, even if the end product doesn't look exactly as planned. Remember, it's the kids' involvement that is the success.
Recipes geared towards children can be easily found online or in cookbooks at a local library. For a delicious dessert that kids will love to help create, try Mucho Choco Tacos, 10-year-old Shelby Trantham's grand prize winning recipe from the Old El Paso Kids Stand 'N Stuff contest.