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Teaching Kids to Use a Microwave

Out of all the jobs around the kitchen, teaching kids to use a microwave is one of the easiest and one of the most useful. Your child will still feel involved in the cooking process and will love the chance to play with a fully interactive machine that produces real life results. You will initially need to supervise them using the machine to make sure that good food doesn’t get ruined, but once they’ve got the hang of the initial controls, you can let them explore the full functionality of the microwave.

Planned Kids Cooking Curriculum

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Teaching Microwave Cooking

When teaching kids to use a microwave, there are four basimicrowavec things that they need to know if they are to become the main users of the machine:
  • Cooking
  • Defrosting
  • Melting
  • Cleaning
Once you feel that they’ve mastered these techniques, then they can be left to experiment with the microwave to see what else they can make it do.

Microwave Cooking

The best place to start off with this part of teaching kids to use a microwave is to get them to reheat leftover food for themselves. You may want to start your lesson with a quick overview of how the microwave works, explaining that the microwaves heat the food up from the outside first, so while something may be hot to touch, it might not be fully cooked through. Make sure to explain that microwaves can be extremely powerful, so they’ll need to think carefully about how much time it needs so that they don’t burn their food. Then let them experiment with the time and heat settings.

Encourage them to open the door regularly and check. Once they’ve mastered this, then move them on to microwaving small parts of the main meal, such as potatoes and rice, to get them used to the idea that more weight doesn’t necessarily need more time.

Defrosting in the Microwave

This is one of the hardest parts of teaching kids to use a microwave. If they don’t do it for long enough, the food will be inedible; if they do it for too long, they’ll ruin the dish. It will be important to have a lot of small portions put aside that they can practice on, as the last thing you want is for the family dinner to be ruined as a part of your training program. Once they can defrost a meal, move them on to defrosting bread and meat, both of which require careful timing. Again, encourage them to check on the food often.

Use the Microwave for Melting

This can be combined with teaching your child how to make baked goods, as the microwave can be an excellent tool to melt butter and chocolate. This part of the training will teach them to use the microwave gently, as most forms of butter won’t survive more than half a minute in the microwave. Start by choosing a recipe that needs plenty of melted ingredients and allow them plenty of time to practice.

Make teaching easier with our activities and recipes
compiled in one easy to read format.

Cleaning the Microwave

Cleaning the microwave can be a pain, but it will teach your child to look after themselves, and to let them know that with the power of being a chef comes the responsibility of keeping their utensils clean. As they might be putting raw meat in the microwave, be strict with the standards of cleanliness that you’ll expect from them.

Apart from saving you time, teaching kids to use microwave ovens can be a great way to get them into cooking. You can begin to build on the knowledge that they will have gained by incorporating microwave cooking into child-friendly recipes, and giving them more responsibility around the kitchen. Be sure to supervise them regularly and don't make a big fuss if they do make a mistake. Initially, don’t rely on them doing it right as part of your meal, and be pleased and excited when they do get it right.

Here are some easy microwave meals and recipes to try, now.

Related Cook with Appliances Pages:
~Appliances, ~ Crock Pot, ~Blender, ~Microwave, ~ Bread Maker, ~Toaster Oven

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