Elemental Kids: Kids in the kitchen

How did food swapping go?  Do you and your family have a new favorite food.  When I try new foods and I actually like what I tried, I get so excited because I have something new and different to eat.  We all know we can get bored with certain foods we constantly eat, so mixing it up can always be a wonderful option to go for in our lives.  

This week Emilie and I are going to share some tips on how to involve your children in the kitchen.  There are so many ways your whole family can be involved in the kitchen.  Try out some of these tips for this week and I promise you will see how easy it can be.  Remember children need guidance first then they can slowly begin to complete the task on their own.

 Try the I do, We do, you do approach.

- Laura

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Benefits of children cooking in the kitchen:

  1. A Meditative Experience- Your using all five senses when cooking, so when all senses are engaged you are naturally more mindful.  Have you ever been cooking an old family recipe and it brought you joy because it reminded you of memories you had with the people you cooked with? Senses are powerful.

    (Emilie’s Tip) Let your little ones interact with individual ingredients. Put salt in their hand and ask how it FEELS. They can even put a little bit on their tongue to explore the taste & texture.

    If you want to learn more on how to stay mindful in the kitchen then check out this wonderful article by Headspace on mindful cooking.

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2. Exercising our fine motor skills-   Next time you chop, pour, stir, flip, etc.. think about all the muscles you are using to do these tasks. For kids, when they complete these tasks it helps build those muscles they use for writing, cutting, independently opening a bag of chips at school, or picking up or holding something. For the little ones, let them help you stir or arrange food on a baking sheet.  Amazon has a variety of kid safe knives, kid cook books,  cooking sets, and many other accessories to allow your child to safely help you in the kitchen.  On a budget? No problem! Target dollar spot and the Dollar Tree have tons of kid friends kitchen utensils.

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3. Math and Science skills- Cooking is a great way to practice measuring, weighing, cooking time, converting temperature, changing quantities, and the reaction certain ingredients can have with each other to create something delicious and mesmerizing.  I struggled in these two subject areas, so becoming truly hands on with concepts I was learning helped me to fully grasp them. Also, I was having fun and learning!

4. “Feeding” our Creativity- Some are creative writers, drawers, painters, but some are creative in the kitchen.  Try a “chopped” challenge with your family (not as difficult ingredients of course :) and see what they create together.   Watching people cook can also spark creativity.

(Emilie’s Tip) Kids feel creative when their empowered to make choices! When I work with kids, I give them freedom to make up their own smoothie recipes and THEY LOVE IT. Give several ingredient options (nut butters, fruit, even cacao powder!) and make a rule - like their recipe must contain at least 1/4 cup of a veggie (spinach and cauliflower are my go-tos). They get to pick the quantities for everything else! They learn soooooo much about what they like/don’t like.

Here are a few more resources to help you and your family get started in the kitchen:   Kids Cooking Kits Monthly Subscription    Sur La Table Cooking Classes Calendar    Sur La Table Summer Cooking Camps   Cooking is a great way to bring ALL together. Leave Emilie and I a comment or a picture of what you and your family decided to try in the kitchen this week.  Yoga for ALL  Love for ALL  Cooking for ALL  Laura and Emilie


Here are a few more resources to help you and your family get started in the kitchen:

Kids Cooking Kits Monthly Subscription

Sur La Table Cooking Classes Calendar

Sur La Table Summer Cooking Camps

Cooking is a great way to bring ALL together. Leave Emilie and I a comment or a picture of what you and your family decided to try in the kitchen this week.

Yoga for ALL

Love for ALL

Cooking for ALL

Laura and Emilie


Elemental Kids - Fall Fun Favorites

Happy Fall Everyone! Here in Alabama the weather likes to tease us. One day it is hot and then BAM! it feels like a cool Fall day. To help us enjoy this Fall season, I would like to share my top three Fall Fun Favorites for the whole family to enjoy.

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1.Nature Walk

What will I need?

  • Comfy clothes and shoes

  • Nature walk check-list( great for children)

  • Binoculars

  • Water

  • Blanket and snacks for a little picnic

What to do?

  • Walking meditation(Walking quietly together for five minutes or more then discuss what you saw, smelled, heard, felt, or maybe tasted.)

Price? FREE!

Where? Top Ten Parks to visit in Birmingham.

Why? Our bodies can crave to be outside. The smell of the crisp air, the sound of the birds, the views all around, being able to move our body, and the feeling of the cool Fall breeze on our skin can be healing for the soul. Go outside and listen, feel, smell, and see what nature has to offer for you and your family.

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2. Pumpkin Carving

What will I need?

  • Pumpkins

  • Pumpkin Carving Kit

  • Carve outside for easy clean up OR put a bunch of newspapers, magazines, old sheet, or small tarp down.

  • Bowl to keep the seeds for a yummy snack.

What to do?

  • BE CREATIVE! and HAVE FUN!

  • I understand if you might need some inspiration. I know I do at times :)

For Who? ALL AGES

Why? Embracing our inner child and creativity is refreshing.

3. Cooking Sweet Treats

What will I need?

  • Your families favorite Fall sweet treat recipe. My favorite is candy apples.

  • Don’t forget to add a pinch of love, is what my mom always says :)

  • Utensils(Kid safe)

  • Music to cook and dance to

  • Aprons

    Why? Because who doesn’t love sweet treats!!!! :)

    But really, cooking can be fun, creative, relaxing, and bring everyone together.

I shared my top three Fall Fun Favorites, now share yours with us!

Yoga for All
Love for All,

Laura

Elemental Kids: But Why?

Hello Families!  Laura here to explain more why I am talking about creating a mindful lifestyle for the whole Family.


Why is it important?  Why mindfulness? Why Yoga? Why talk about it?  I’m channeling my inner three year old of asking why. WHY. WHY! :) The question of why can be annoying to hear , but asking why provides us with so much to learn and explore.

 

Why mindfulness?  

First, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness, in my mind and heart, is taking in every moment and feeling without judgment. For more on how to introduce and incorporate mindfulness in your family, go to my post Elemental Kids: Mindful Summer for the Fam.  Now let us get back to WHY MINDFULNESS?  Once I found mindfulness, I am now able to look at each moment of my day in a completely new way.  When a good or bad situation is brought to me, I am able to breathe and embrace each moment.  Even on those days my mind is out of control,  I remember I always have my breath. Now, is this possible for children to grasp this concept?  OH YES! Watch this beautiful video of children discussing the breath.  The video brings tears to my eyes every time because why wouldn’t we want children to feel safe and calm every day? Especially the dark moments of their lives.  Mindfulness is a superpower we all can tap into.  OR this video explains WHY MINDFULNESS in a way that anybody can understand.  Scientist are finding evidence that mindfulness/meditation has a positive impact on our brains.  I’m not a scientist, so here is an article on scientific discovery on mindfulness from Huffington Post.  

Now that you have more information on mindfulness, why not try this approach?  What could you and your families lives look like with mindfulness? I believe it is a risk worth trying!   

Why Yoga? 

What is Yoga?  Yoga means unity or what I like to say is community because yoga has allowed me to bring unity within myself, so that I can build a community around me.. The benefits that yoga provides for children is similar in the benefits yoga provides for adults. Yoga is a recipe incorporating mindfulness, meditation, and poses. These ingredients come together to create a safe place we can ALL come to when we are feeling our worst and even when we are feeling our best.  Yoga isn’t just for when we are broken. Yoga is a lifelong practice of allowing us to always try and be in the present good or bad moments of our lives. Yoga Ed states, “Yoga supports your child’s development physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and academically.” The article reminded me of how beneficial yoga would have been during my childhood. I believe I could have handled my stress and anxiety in a healthier way with yoga.  Now, for my favorite part… the science of yogaI can’t argue with science. Yoga supports development, sleep, physical fitness, the brain, and reduces stress and anxiety.  I understand there are many out there that just won’t try yoga for many reasons. Now that you have this information,  all I ask is for you and your family to try then see and feel what happens in your mind, body, and heart.  

Why talk about it?

First off because our world needs to talk more, text and social media less (find a balance),and talk about the matters that might make us a little uncomfortable. Here is why: I believe we all have shoved so much into the back of our minds because we are afraid of confrontation or change. I am 100% guilty of being this person who pushes conversations in the back of my head to be stored away and never communicated.  I’m done being that person and I hope you will join me in this discussion and many more.

Just imagine what would you and your families life look like with mindfulness, yoga, and healthy communication.  Remember my Bonus tip from my Back to School Mindset Post you don’t have to make huge changes fast.  Take one moment at a time.

I want to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment and we can continue this conversation together.  

Yoga for All Love for All

Laura

Elemental Kids: mindful summer for the fam

Hey friends, Laura here! I'm so excited to share with you this summer! I thought we could kick things off with a chat about what mindfulness actually is and how you can incorporate this concept into your family and summer activities.  I mean, who doesn't want to feel true connection with your kids and enjoy a summer full of fun & soul.  

As a parent, you know that summer can be exhausting and move by too quickly. Instead of thinking about this in terms of DOING MORE, let's look at mindfulness through the lens of being purposeful. So, what exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness, in my mind and heart, is taking in every moment and feeling without judgement.

Mindfulness looks like being here now when talking to one another, staying present during the simple tasks like washing the dishes, driving or eating food. It's about noticing the little signals and feelings of your body and mind throughout the day.  It allows us to have Mind Full of Love.

Kids are actually pretty great at being in the moment, but learning how to articulate their feelings and discovering coping mechanisms takes time. As parents, guardians, and teachers we can guide our children to practice being mindful of those emotions and how to balance and cope with them. When you open discussion with your kid(s) try to use vocabulary that allows your child to connect with you on their level, not yours! Don't open a conversation with a specific goal or agenda, simply follow their lead.

A great starting point is talking about feelings and emotions. 

  • "What is sad, happy, shy, frustrated, or mad?" 
  • "What does it feel like when you have each emotion?"
  • "How does your body respond to these feelings?" (heart racing, red face, tummy tension)

It's important to let your children know that their emotions are valid and acceptable.  Remind them that feelings will constantly change moment to moment, but identifying each feeling is helpful. During a family discussion time, try sharing an example of a moment you felt sad or mad.  Express how you were able to cope with that challenging moment in your life, through breath, seeking support or journaling. In my years working with children, I have noticed they love having something to relate to and someone to relate with; so don't be afraid to be vulnerable with them!

Mindfulness in Action: 

To practice mindfulness as a family, take one of your simple daily tasks and discover the present moment: feel the body here & now, notice your breath, listen to the sounds around you, recognize the feeling in your feet, hands, and entire body.  Throughout the exercise remember to breathe in a Mind Full of Love. Try to complete the exercise once a day together or separately for a week then at dinner each night discuss your experiences.

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The book, Unstoppable Me, by Wayne W. Dyer is a great map piece to explore mindfulness and feelings! The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. There are questions at the end of the book to help spark discussion and to further reinforce the author’s message.

Leave us a comment below & let us know how this works in your fam!