As a mother of two – a 7-year-old and a 1-year-old – I must admit I did not equate having my kids cooking with me in the kitchen with quality time.

Images of my kitchen looking like a food bomb hit it, me screaming my head off, and thus making them miserable, was what I foresaw in that daymare (that’s the opposite of a daydream, according to the 7-year-old).

But after a chat with Mondisa Goduka, aka Mo, owner of The Kids Cooking Club in Cape Town, I think I can start seeing things differently.

Mo explains how getting physically active in preparing food can boost our children’s cognitive and social development (and as a plus, you can get some family time and meal out of it, too!)

While most parents think keeping kids busy in the kitchen is just a messy affair, Mo sees it differently: “The kids get to experiment with different foods and utensils in the kitchen and in this way they are able to learn about the different textures, tastes and looks of what they eat. Once you combine fun and learning, you will get the best results.”

On the developmental front she said there were many techniques and skills that can be learned in the kitchen.“Grating, chopping, pinching, rolling are all among the actions that develop their fine motor skills. They also get their sensory skills going with the different textures, tastes and appearances of the foods. Getting messy is also part of learning and development which the kids enjoy!”

Most times, between work and school, the food preparation and eating process becomes a rushed job and a mechanical process. Mo says there’s much to gain from preparing a meal with your child: “First, it’s so much fun. As a mother myself, seeing how excited the kids get when they make their own food – whether it’s cooking or baking, no matter how big or small – you will be surprised at how brilliant they actually are and capable of doing things themselves. Why not do something fun and educational with a delicious result it’s the perfect way to bond with your children.”