Cookin’ It Up With the Kids for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. While the holidays can be a stressful time, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family and to make memories together. So why not let the kids help out with some of the cooking this holiday season?

Cooking can be fun and educational for all.

Having the kids help with cooking is not only a great way to make memories, but cooking can be a great way to add in other educational opportunities. Younger children can work on reading skills and following directions with recipes, as well as some simple math skills with measuring out ingredients. Older children can work on fractions and math conversions in recipes. And everyone can learn about nutrition and which foods provide the most vitamins and minerals.

Picky eaters make the best kitchen helpers.

Do you have picky eaters in your family? Getting them involved in cooking—and even grocery shopping—can help broaden their flavor palate. As you’re in the kitchen with the kids, allow them to try all of the ingredients. Do they like the smell and taste of cinnamon? How about the crunch of celery? If texture is an issue, maybe sweet potato casserole isn’t their thing, but sweet potato fries might be. Allow your picky eaters to explore smells and textures to find out what it is they like and don’t like.

Have a charcuterie board available.

It can take a while for the Thanksgiving turkey to finish cooking, so many people enjoy snacks before the big feast. What better idea than a charcuterie board? Charcuterie boards are traditionally made of cheeses and meats, but these boards can have a variety of snacks and finger foods on them. A charcuterie board is perfect for the picky eaters in your family because they can be customized with whatever types of food you like. The kids can get involved by picking out the foods, like which types of cheese, crackers, vegetables or fruits, and deli meats they might want to try. Older kids can help slice cheese, vegetables, and fruits to finger-food size, and everyone can help arrange the items on the board.

Get your children to help with side dishes.

Cooking a Thanksgiving turkey might not be for the kids, but the kids can surely help with preparing all or some of the sides that are served with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Mashed potatoes are an easy-to-prepare side, and kids can help wash, peel, and cut potatoes, and then help with the mashing after the potatoes are cooked. If you are using peas in a pod, kids can shuck the peas. Having carrots? Kids can peel and chop those veggies—with supervision. The possibilities are endless when it comes to side dishes!

Experiment with a casserole.

Casseroles are an easy dish to assemble–most involve just mixing ingredients together and then baking. Casseroles are great dishes to get kids involved in the kitchen because they can choose which vegetables to mix in. A sweet potato casserole might be traditional, but that might not be your child’s vegetable of choice; so why not try a turkey pot pie with just peas and carrots—or mixed vegetables for more adventurous eaters. Get your casserole on this Thanksgiving by letting your kids guide you when it comes to ingredients.

Don’t forget dessert!

Dessert can be one of the best aspects of a Thanksgiving Day meal, and there are so many types of desserts out there! And the best part about desserts? They can be made ahead of time!

Desserts make a great treat for kids because they can be very involved. If your kids love to decorate, make sugar cookies using turkey or leaf cookie cutters; and after they’re baked, the kids can decorate to their hearts’ content. Not to mention, the little ones will love rolling out dough and stamping the cooking cutter shapes out. Freezer pies are another simple dessert for kids that often involves three or four ingredients mixed together, placed in a pre-made tart shell, and then tossed in the freezer to firm up. Yet another dessert favorite for the kids is cupcakes! To make it simple, pick up a box mix and a can of frosting. The kids can follow the directions and make the cupcakes almost all on their own. Once baked and cooled, get creative and decorate! Turkey cupcakes are always a big hit at Thanksgiving.

Keep the tradition going.

Just like Thanksgiving is full of family traditions, make sure you keep the tradition of visiting Dr. Jaynes and his staff in Plano twice a year for your child’s dental health needs! If your six-month checkup isn’t scheduled yet, call today to make an appointment. There’s nothing we cherish more than seeing your smiling faces every six months! Keep brushing, flossing, smiling, and we’ll see you soon at your next cleaning!