With the children at home for several weeks over the summer, keeping things creative in the kitchen is a must. Devoid of the school day to distract from the humdrum of the dining table experience, creating fun family mealtimes is a must.
Getting children involved in the culinary process is a wonderful way to spend time together. In a day and age when all activities seem to cost the earth, going back to basics can really please the school holiday budget.
Adding a good dollop of dedication to family meal times can show youngsters a world of wonders. From costing, planning and cooking to hosting and entertaining, putting the pleasure into dining can make it an enjoyable experience rather than an ongoing chore. Who knows, us parents may even enjoy plating up the grub!
Breaking free from the usual hectic timetable to allow for such a slow-paced dinner is a luxury in itself. It teaches children that meal times aren’t simply a pitstop in our fast-paced world, but a pleasure-filled event. Let’s see how this can be achieved.
Plan the menu
Youngsters love to have a say in what goes down in the house. Set out a budget and take a trip to the local butchers, greengrocers, bakers, or if you prefer to do the ‘Big Shop’, your nearest supermarket.
With your weekly menu plan designed, create a list and pick up what you need from the stores. Equipped for cooking, it’s time to hit the kitchen.
Get involved with cooking
Whether you follow recipes or go with your instinct a la how-granny-used-to-bake-it, involve your children in the process. With the end product in mind, talk them through the ingredients, let them get hands on and teach them measurements and techniques. Don’t forget cooking temperatures and safety tips, too.
While the end result may not quite be Pinterest perfect, it will certainly have homemade charm. As little ones gleam with delight, it will definitely be a dinner they’ll be proud of.
Setting the table
Ok, so it seems so simple but setting the table correctly is a skill that is frankly going straight down the swanny. And why? After all, it should be perfectly obvious where placemats, cutlery, and condiments live on the dining table.
The fact is, hectic lifestyles do not agree with beautifully adorned table settings. Say a big-fat no to this over summer. Enjoy picking flowers together for a chic, cheap, cheery centrepiece. Show the little ones where knives, forks and spoons lie. Light a candle. Drink from matching glasses. Beautiful.
Do things differently
As excited as children will be to eat the food they have prepared, why not do things differently from time to time? After all, dinner-table rules were made to be broken, right?
Plate up sides or puddings in the middle of the table, let children choose their bits and pieces for themselves. Ditch the formalities altogether and head to the park with a wholesome homemade picnic. Encourage your youngsters to entertain, creating a buffet and inviting their friends, and your nearest and dearest.
And, don’t forget, dining isn’t reserved solely for food. Add in some table games for a first-class family meal time.
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