TIPS: COOKING OUTDOORS WITH KIDS
Dusty has been getting really curious about cooking lately; he loves helping out in the kitchen, stirring food and handing over utensils. It’s the cutest thing ever! Even though we aren’t travelling overseas this year, we have booked a few little trips around Australia.
We recently enjoyed a weekend escape at Conondale Station, it is one of the largest, privately owned, working cattle properties on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in Queensland, Australia. Located on the Mary River, it spans 930 hectares and is home to Maree Duncombe and her herd of over 300 Brahman and Charbray beef cattle.
There are three houses on Conondale Station and Maree has renovated and styled all of these houses including ‘The Cottage’, which is available as bed and breakfast accommodation for guests to stay in. And is where we stayed. It sits on top of a hill, offering stunning views of the working cattle station below and the hinterland beyond.
We knew this getaway would be the perfect excuse to introduce Dusty to cooking outdoors, so we have partnered with Primus Outdoor to show you exactly how easy it was! For our outdoor cooking experience, we used the gear below from Primus. We love making our easy berry chia jam and Dusty eats it by the spoonful, so Jason and I thought this recipe would be perfect for him to learn how to cook outdoors. To see the recipe and try your hand at making our easy berry chia jam, head over to this post.
Cooking outdoors with kids, whether it’s over an open flame or a gas stove, is no easy feat! They are naturally very curious. But it’s so much fun watching them experience and enjoy new things, especially cooking outdoors. We’ve learned a lot over the last year, and thought we would share some tips for cooking outdoors with kids.
INVEST IN GREAT OUTDOOR COOKING GEAR
I am all for investing in the right gear when it comes to camping and outdoor activities; quality reigns supreme in our family. It means we will be able to enjoy our camping gear and outdoor cooking equipment for years to come. The great thing about cooking outdoors with gas, is that you don’t actually need a lot of things. All you need is a two-stove burner, a pot set, prep and cutlery set, plats and mugs. And best of all? All of the Primus gear we used is super light to carry around.
PLANNING IS KEY
Once you’ve got your gear, our next tip is to start planning your meals. Depending on the gas of your kids, get them involved in deciding what you’ll make. And make them kid friendly! Choosing kid friendly recipes makes the experience a lot of fun for kids. It fosters their creativity Once you know what you are going to cook, then you need to get shopping. I personally find shopping at Coles without Dusty is much easier, and faster. But of course, you can bring the kids along and get them involved in this part of the planning. Also, having some kid friendly sized utensils is a win, like wooden spoons and tongs. The Primus PrepSet has some great wooden utensils that are perfect for little kids hands too.
GET YOUR PREP WORK DONE
We learned the hard way, so make sure you do all, if not most of your food prep done before you go camping. Trust me! There is a lot going on when you cook outdoors with kids around, and having your food prepped takes a lot of pressure off parents. You may not be able to prep everything, but do try. Before you go camping, younger kids can help with the easier jobs, such as washing and measuring. And older kids can help with peeling and chopping. You can easily start prepping at least a week ahead. But try not prep the day before because you will have lots of packing to do before your camping trip.
COOKING OVER A FLAME
It’s always best not to involve your kids when lighting a gas stove or making a fire - this one is best left for the adults, with all kids standing at a safe distance. What you can involve them in is choosing a site to cook, collect kindling for a fire, and setting the ingredients aside. The older kids can help dig a pit for the fire and lining it with stones if they want.
EMBRACE THE MESS
I think one of my most favourite aspects of cooking outdoors is the mess. And the fact that we aren’t cooking at home. Make a mess? Don’t care! Having this relaxed attitude makes cooking outdoors so much more enjoyable for everyone. Embrace the mess, and let your kids creativity shine. It’s only mess after all.
COMING RIGHT UP
Dusty is almost two, so we are getting him to help us set the table and carry his plate from the kitchen to the table - he is so chuffed and loves helping us, doing big kid things. We continued this when we were cooking outdoors and got him to help us set the table and help serve food. He’s not very good at the serving part as he’s still so little, but he’s having fun trying. So our tip here is to get the little kids to help set the table (if you have one where you are camping) and get the big kids to help serve everyone.
Tidying and cleaning up after a meal is inevitable. Definitely get all kids to help out where they can. This teaches them the process of what actually goes into cooking outdoors - planning, prepping, making, enjoying and cleaning up. These little life skills learned through cooking outdoors will help their self-sufficiency, encourage responsibility, and foster their creativity and education.
And for those wanting to know, the cushions and rug is from my friends store - Hello Trader!