Admittedly, I often have to shoo him away because I'm in a hurry or because, quite honestly, it's not the easiest thing in the world to cook dinner when a 4 year old is measuring and stirring and helping!
But when I have time, he's so eager to jump up on a chair and help me read the recipe, and measure the ingredients, and stir everything together, then open the oven door while I put our creation into the oven.
Sometimes while we're working together, we talk about "WHY?"
- "Why do you think we only put a little bit of salt in this recipe?"
- "Why do you think we don't put peanut butter in the mashed potatoes?"
- "Why do think we have to cook the lasagna before we eat it?"
We also talk about colors (what color is the pepper, what color is the flour, what color is the corn? why is the potato brown on the outside, and white on the inside?) and textures (does the egg feel gooey or soft?) and smells (why does sugar taste sweet, but smell so bad? Does the onion smell sweet?).
He's always so proud when the family sits down to eat a meal that he made. And I have to admit, after having the opportunity to spend that time with him, and seeing the smile on his face and the pride in his stance, my food always tastes a bit better.
If your little chef needs an apron, check out the designs available at http://www.MyLittleRembrandt.com/customaprons.html. You can even send me your child's artwork, and I can put that on an apron for you (or I can put it on an apron for Grandma!)