Once kids have learned basic kitchen safety tips, and already know how to use the stove top, they may be ready to take it to the next level and use the oven.
The oven is where kids will cook pizzas, English muffin pizzas, chicken nuggets, and other foods that don’t microwave well. The oven is also the kitchen appliance pre-teens and teens need to know how to use for baking.
1. Two Knobs Are Better than One
Compare the difference between selection of one knob on the stove top, and the use of two knobs for the oven. All ovens are different, so go by your own knobs for this one.
2. Pre-heating the Oven
Pre-teens and teens may not have the patience to actually use the pre-heat setting on the oven. You can explain to them, thought, that the first thing they should do (after hand washing) is to turn the oven on. This way the oven can “pre-heat” on bake while they are preparing the food to go into the oven.
3. Setting the Temperature
Pre-teens and teens should be instructed to follow the cooking directions on any items baked or cooked in the oven. The oven should be set to “bake” and they should avoid using the “broil” settings.
4. The 350 Degree Rule
The 350 degree rule applies to any frozen and/or semi-precooked foods that the young cook will be putting in the oven. If the instructions are illegible or missing, baking food at 350 is a reasonable temperature that will safely get the food cooked in a decent amount of time.
5. Oven Pans
Be very explicit about which pans can and cannot go in the oven. If you need to, relegate different types of pans to an under-stove drawer for use by the pre-teen or teen cook.
They should know how to use a cookie sheet for cooking pizza, or chicken nuggets or tenders. They should also know about using glass or metal casserole dishes for other foods.
6. Covering Dishes
Let young cooks know which foods need to covered with alumninum foil when cooking. Most foods these kids are cooking will not require any covering.
7. Using Oven Mitts
Explain that they should oven mitts every time they open the oven or check on food.
8. Cooking Around Younger Siblings
When pre-teens and teens have very young siblings in the house, including toddlers, make sure they only open the oven when the youngest children are in another room, or far away from the opening oven door.
9. It’s All About Timing
Timing dishes in the oven is very important. It is essential for baking. Teach them how to use the timer in your kitchen, or to use a clock to self-time the food.
10. Checking Food for Readiness
Teach kids how to check for readiness when cooking their favorite foods in the oven.
Teaching pre-teens and teens how to use the oven gives them a bit more independence, and you a little more freedom.