Include the Kids
Kids love outdoor cooking. Just break out the grill and watch them get cranked up.
For obvious reasons, it’s important to be super careful when cooking outdoors with children or when some of your guests are kids. Little ones are very impulsive and may not realize how hot grills and smokers get. They may also forget about the dangers when they get caught up in the excitement.
If you have kids, go over the safety rules with your kids. If you have young visitors, do the same. Incorporate a little humor if you can, because kids love to laugh. But, be serious about the rules. Establish a safe zone for little ones and remind them if they start getting too close to the fire.
My boys have never had a grill or smoker accident. The youngest did, however, drink the lighter fluid while I was grilling once. That was back when he was a toddler and would literally eat or drink ANYTHING. The party came to a screeching halt. We headed to the emergency room where he had to take something to make him vomit. That was the end of that party and also the last time I left lighter fluid or anything else dangerous on the porch.
Include the Kids
Do let the kids help with age appropriate tasks. For really small children, this may be no cook dishes like making the salad to go with the grilled food or making Dirt Balls. Little ones love to help, and it’s good to include them and add responsibilities as they grow. Be interactive and supervise until kids are big enough to handle more advanced tasks.
My boys started off with fire cooking by making S’Mores as preschoolers (but with one-on-one help). They enjoyed holding the sticks and watching the marshmallows brown or even catch fire. They moved up to pie irons which are similar but mean more options. They are teens now and can grill and smoke as well as Dutch Oven cook. I’m still on hand for pointers and because cooking outdoors is a great time to chat with teens.
I’ve found that bigger kids think it’s much cooler to cook outdoors than indoors. Helping with dinner may seem like work while helping with a cook out seems like a good time. Those extra hands come in handy too.
Fun Kid Recipes:
Grilled Chocolate Bananas
Home Churned Ice Cream
Zip Lock Baggie Ice Cream
More Kid Fun:
Buddy Burners (using cans to make mini cooking stoves)
Homemade Bubble Stuff