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Teach kids to cook (using a video game!)

Betsy Bailey is the co-founder and executive editor of SheKnows, Pregnancy & Baby, GeoParent and, among others. She has also served as the editor-in-chief of four national print magazines. She lives with her husband and their...

Cooking with kids

Teach a kid to cook, and you'll have to do much less of it. But when time is short, sometimes it's all you can do just to get a fast dinner on the table. Here's a fun way to teach your kids to cook: Let this video game do most of the work.

Cooking with kids

Teaching kids to cook

My girls are 14, 13 and 10 -- a great set of ages to get them really cooking. Over the years, they've learned some basics. My 14-year-old, Bailey, can make scrambled eggs and pancakes, grilled cheese, cornbread and brownies, among other things. But when it comes to putting the kids completely in charge of meals, I've been remiss. My 10-year-old hasn't spent much time in the kitchen at all, and she is interested.

They are busy teen/tweens, and I'm a busy, multitasking mom who maybe has a few control-freak tendencies. Usually, I just make dinner because (a) I'm good at it, and (b) I'm fast at it.

The thing is, my kids aren't learning as much about cooking as they could be. I have a feeling a lot of mamas can relate. Intellectually, we know it's a sound investment. The trick is finding the time, the patience and the tolerance for chaos and a gigantic mess.

Fun for kids, big help for moms

Cooking with kids

When a publicist contacted me about a new game for the Nintendo DS called American's Test Kitchen: Let's Get Cooking and asked if I'd like to try it out, I was curious. She sent me a DSi XL, the game and even the ingredients for four of the game's recipes.

Even better, my children (well, two of them anyway!) were curious. A cooking video game? What a fun idea! They couldn't wait to get started. Once everything arrived, for two days in a row they prepared very, very nice large family meals (there are six of us for dinner most nights) with minimal adult assistance.

As I type this, my 10-year-old, Mira, is browsing the game for recipes she can make this week. She is considering Pasta Caprese and Strawberry Shortcake. Um? Yum!

Yeah... I like this game.

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