Cooking With Kids—4 Benefits And 4 Easy Recipes For Your Budding Chef

cooking with kids

Involving young kids in cooking or preparing meals is not only fun for the kids cooking but also teaches life-long lessons that younger kids don’t realize they’re learning when preparing family meals with a parent. 

Teaching kids basic cooking skills at a young age means messes, mistakes, and a longer process before everyone sits down to eat, but the memories you’ll make will last a lifetime.

This article will discuss involving your kids as you prepare meals for your family. We’ll cover some kid-friendly recipe ideas and how to steer your kids toward healthy foods when you’re preparing a tasty treat.

When you teach kids healthy habits when they start cooking, you’ll soon realize that entire meals get eaten by once picky little ones who snubbed anything green or anything that even resembled healthy food!

Cooking with kids

Some parents think that kids’ cooking means a mess, a fight, and a ton of cleanup afterward. Teaching kids to cook is something that many of us would love to do, but the thought of all the work involved can leave us hesitant to get started.

In today’s quickly moving world, getting kids involved in the kitchen or cleaning up the house with imaginative play is getting more challenging. There’s too much to do and too little time to do it.

But what if I told you that teaching kids to cook can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences for your kids and you? 

Cooking with kids creates young chefs who have made memories, will adopt better eating habits, and want to learn even more.

cooking with kids

The benefits of cooking with kids

Cooking with kids or getting children involved in the kitchen may sound like something that won’t amount to anything but a mess. 

But there are tons of great benefits to cooking with kids, and even more so when the whole family goes to the kitchen together to prepare meals.

If you’re not convinced yet, the following are just a few things that cooking with kids will do for your child and your family that are wholesome benefits.

1. Math skills

Older kids tend to dislike Math classes in school. We live in a society where a calculator is always in your pocket, on your phone. 

Learning basic Math is not something most kids think is important these days.

However, you can sneak those Math lessons into cooking with kids, especially older children, when you have them measure ingredients, convert measurements, and add ingredients to make recipes come together.

From addition to fractions and division, you’re instilling math into your children’s lives, and they don’t even realize it.

2. Quality time

You can’t just set kids loose in the kitchen. They need adult supervision to cut, combine, and measure ingredients. 

They can’t use the oven or stovetop without help. Making recipes and cooking with kids means that you have to get involved, as well.

Kids love spending time with adults as long as they’re involved. It’s become all too easy to sit in front of the television together and spend “quality time.” Still, the laughs, memories, and lessons you share while cooking with kids far surpass a few chuckles at the television.

It’s truly a bonding experience that your children will hold onto for the rest of their lives.

3. A good relationship with food

Foods are not and never has been the enemy. However, as children reach puberty and adulthood, their relationship with food can become warped.

When you make dinner or a meal with your children and teach them nutrition while you do it, you are building healthy habits and a healthy relationship with food. 

You’re teaching them that bread is fine in moderation. That starches are tasty, but they don’t make a whole meal. That sweets are fine in moderation. And that green vegetables and tasty fruit are delicious.

Research shows that girls, in particular, start to pay attention to their weight and body shape by the time they are six years old. 

Families who cook together and start regularly eating together are more likely to encourage good relationships not only with food but with each other, and the never-ending goal of “thinness” that so many girls adopt may not be such an issue for these families.

4. How to follow instructions

Recipes and cooking blend Math and Science to get the end result of a meal or a tasty dinner. When you teach kids to cook, they learn to follow clear instructions to arrive at a finished product they can be proud of and share with the family.

From avoiding cross-contamination to following step-by-step instructions and using kitchen utensils, the skill set your child can adopt while learning to cook with you are skills they will take into a classroom one day, into the workforce, and into the families they create as adults.

cooking with kids

Fun things to cook with kids

Now that we’ve covered some of the many endless benefits of cooking with kids, it’s time to start cooking!

Choosing a simple recipe for your child to help with is a great way to introduce fun and bonding in the kitchen. But knowing what simple recipes are the best to start with can be difficult.

The following are some easy recipe ideas for you to try with your kids. Feel free to tweak them to your family’s preferences and allergy needs.

1. Homemade mashed potatoes

With a bag of potatoes, some salt, a little milk or cream cheese, butter, and water, you can make easy homemade mashed potatoes that kids love to help with.

Just peel and cut up as many potatoes as you need for your family. Put them into a pot, and just barely cover them with water with a pinch of salt. Boil them under they are fork tender, and then drain them.

Add cream cheese or milk and butter, and then let your kids mash up the potatoes that are now tender. Lumpy potatoes are delicious, so don’t worry if your little ones can’t get the potatoes super smashed.

2. Scrambled eggs

Recipes for eggs give you a lot of creative freedom. You can add many ingredients to eggs, as well as the ability to prepare eggs in many different ways.

For simple scrambled eggs, let your kids crack some eggs into a small bowl, and then add a bit of milk and let them whisk up the mixture.

You can let them help cook them on the stove, or you can take over after they have mixed everything up.

You can also pour the mixture into the muffin tin cups and bake them, adding vegetables, meats, or other toppings. Cooking this will give you some small and simple quiches that are delicious.

3. Crescent rolls

Crescent rolls are a fun way to get kids involved with cooking. You can purchase the dough already made or start from scratch, depending on the time you have to cook and your own skill level.

Make or purchase the dough, and let your child roll it up into whatever shape they can. 

Mom can do the first as a demonstration, and the kids involved can try to replicate it. Then they can eat their own rolls after they are done cooking!

4. Pizza

From pizza recipes you can make for desserts to a savory pizza for dinner, you can involve kids of any age in this fun activity.

You can purchase the dough pre-made or mix your own, and parents can get kids involved in the fun while offering tips about the toppings that go together and the nutritional options that can be included.

Then let your children add the toppings, and put them in the oven. This is a fun and delicious way for parents to create a lunch or snack that kids love.

Kitchen activities for toddlers

If you have small children, you may worry that they just aren’t big enough to help much in the kitchen. 

However, you can do plenty of things to get toddlers involved in cooking and preparing meals.

You can have them add pre-measured recipe ingredients into a bowl and then let them use various kitchen utensils to mix it all up.

You can also help them prepare the bread, the main ingredient, the desserts, or side dishes. Focusing on just one aspect of the meal can keep the entire process fun and doesn’t make them feel overwhelmed.

For example, let them help season the chicken before Dad takes it out to grill it. It’s a super easy way to let them see the cooking process and feel involved in the recipe that will result in a tasty meal.

Depending upon your children’s ages, you can also get them involved in preparing lunch. 

You can give them options for lunch ideas and then let them help prepare meals for themselves. From spreading peanut butter and jelly to making a sandwich to cutting up fruit with a child-safe knife, things don’t have to be cooked in the oven to count as a meal.

Enjoy cooking with kids

No matter what ages your children may be, allowing them to help in food preparation, even once a week, can benefit their childhood. 

Just a little bit of patience, help with things like using the oven or a knife, and a little extra cleanup is a great trade-off for the memories you will make together.

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