For some parents, cooking at the campsite is daunting enough without bringing children into the mix. Alleviate the stress: create a safe camping kitchen, with easy-to-use tools, and bring a meal plan that caters to kid-friendly cooking.
Create a Kid-Friendly Kitchen
Children like to feel independent, and giving them the freedom to go into the kitchen and get what they need is key. However, you can maintain some control of this by making a kid-friendly section of the kitchen.
Set up a kid's cooler and food storage bin in this area, and stock it with snacks and meals they can make themselves or use to contribute to family dinner. Some things you can put in there:
-Pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Bring Easy to Use Tools
Kid-friendly cooking hinges on the tools you bring; having items they can use makes it easier for them to help and can reduce your worries. Before you can decide which tools to bring, it's important to determine which tools are safe for your children. Some basic guidelines can help with this:
-Plastic and rubber: Think hard plastic stirring spoons, spatulas and bowls. Even if they're running or using spatulas as swords, there is a reduced risk of injury.
-Long is better: A long pair of tongs or set of roasting sticks allows your children to cook around the fire from a safe distance.
-Bring unique, yet harmless tools: A garlic press, egg slicer and hand juicer are easy to operate and can be helpful around the camping kitchen.
Plan Meals Your Kids Can Cook
Planning your camping menu not only helps with packing and preparing for the trip, but gives you time to decide what your children can help with. Here are three simple tips for creating your family-focused menu:
1. Include kid-friendly assignments: Perhaps your children can't flip a piece of meat on the fire, but they can juice a lemon for your marinade or shuck corn to grill. Build the menu out from here. For example: corn and chicken is a perfect camping meal, with something for everyone to prep.
2. Consider safer cooking methods: Cooking food in tin foil is a popular kid-friendly method. Children can fill their packet, close it up, and drop it on the fire. Though the last part may require your supervision, kids can handle most of the process.
3. Plan large meals: A large pot of stew can be made with help from the entire family. While you and your spouse cut the meat and veggies, your little ones can stir the pot of stock, or add ingredients as they become ready.
Kid-friendly cooking at the campsite isn't just about the children; it's about the entire family. When everyone can contribute, you're able to spend quality time together in a space that's new and different for everyone. When you plan accordingly, campsite cooking will be less stressful for you, and more fun for the rest of the family.
Plan your next family vacation at a national park.