Excuse the mess! My kids are busy making memories!
Do your kids follow you around the kitchen when you’re preparing dinner? Do your kids play with pots and pans while you sauté those vegetables? If yes, your kids can cook!
Because obviously kids can cook! They love to cook! And even if you’re worried about all the mess they’re going to make, I think you should still give them a chance by letting them help with small things.
Why? Because it will give them a sense of responsibility, it will help them learn the basics of cooking, it’s an opportunity to teach healthy habits and most importantly, it’s a great way to spend some quality time with them!
So, how to teach kids to cook? Here are 9 tips to help you get started!
1. Start Them Young
Kids can start learning the basics of cooking from a very tender age, like 3 years; however, they need close adult supervision at all times.
So, if you’re introducing your kids to cooking, start by telling them the importance of washing things, starting with their hands, the utensils they will use, and fruits and vegetables. As their motor skills develop a bit more, you can ask them to help mix batters, use cookie cutters, and use peelers to peel stuff. If you think they’re too young to handle things like that, just sit them on a high chair and tell them about what you’re doing.
Another fun thing is to take them along on activities like gardening and fruit picking so that they can know where they food comes from. At the grocery store, you can point out different products like fruit, vegetables, meat, etc., so they know how to shop for food
2. Be Encouraging
If you want to teach your kids how to cook, you have to be encouraging! That’s the key!
Listen to what they have to say, answer their questions regarding cooking, and be encouraging in general. For instance, if your kids have a keen interest in baking, you could tell them about various icing techniques, cooking cutting, and cake decoration and show them videos related to it. Or, even better, bake a cake with them! On a healthier note, you can also teach them about making healthy ingredient substitutions like swapping traditional flour for almond and tapioca flour or replacing hydrogenated vegetable oils with applesauce. Another great idea is to reach for natural food and vegetable-based dyes to add color.
And while you’re at it, teach them the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods, hygiene, and why fueling their bodies with the right foods is important.
Believe me; these small things go a long way!
3. Teach Safety
While cooking is a great fun activity, especially if you’re doing it with your kids, teaching them about safety is quite essential.
If they are using a peeler or a knife, teach them how to hold it correctly and avoid touching the sharp edge of the blade. Similarly, if your kid is using the stove for small tasks like boiling pasta or making an egg, you should tell them the importance of standing at a distance from the stove, the dangers of fire hazards, and how they should use a hot pad, oven mitts or a trinket when handling hot utensils and plates.
I found these really fun, easy to hold kids knifes on Amazon, and it really makes cooking my little one more safe and fun.
4. Start with the Basics
The key to helping kids learn cooking is to start with the basics. As I mentioned, mixing batters, cookie cutting, assembling salad bowls, or something as easy as making a sandwich with pre-cooked ingredients is a great way to give your kids a head start.
If you take everything step by step, the kids will properly get the hang of everything and learn to cook with safety and precaution.
5. Dress them for the Occasion
Do you think your kids aren’t excited enough to cook? Why not get them a cute little chef’s hat and an apron? You know how kids love to dress up for occasions; they will love their chef’s attire.
And, if you’d like to take things up a notch, get them their own spatula or bowl they can use every time they’re helping you around the kitchen!
6. Use Colorful Ingredients
There’s no denying that colors appeal to children. So, if you’re teaching them how to cook, spark interest by using colorful ingredients.
In fact, I have a nifty trick for this! Make rainbow-colored popsicles with the kids using an ingredient of each color. And, to make it more fun and interactive, let the kids pick the ingredients and see how creative they can get. For instance, strawberries for red, oranges for orange, mangoes for yellow, and so on.
Or, you could use natural food coloring to make colorful cookie dough and let the kids cut them into different shapes. The possibilities are endless!
7. Involve Them in What You’re Making
No matter what you’re making, you can always involve your kids in it.
Making wild rice? Let the kids help strain them. Making a lettuce wrap or gluten free sandwich? Let the kids assemble it. Baking something? Let them peer through the oven glass to see what’s going on.
In short, the more you involve the kids with meal preparations, the more they will learn and show interest.
8. Make it Fun
What’s the point of cooking when there’s no fun involved? Cooking may be a chore for you, but when it comes to teaching kids, you have to make it fun!
Get some cool tools like different-shaped cookie cutters, colorful straws, kid-safe knives, and vibrant utensils to add an element of fun to cooking. You can get plenty of cute and attractive kitchen tools for when the kids are cooking.
Also, if you let the kids take over some tasks, they will be more than interested in cooking. For example, ask them to write down the recipe as you make it and create a recipe book for themselves for future use. Try this, and thank me later!
9. Cooking Party for Kids
If your kids are really into cooking, then you could host a cooking party for the kids. It could be a random party, a birthday party, or even a sleepover where you let the kids go crazy with their kitchen creations!
The can easily prepare fruit skewers, smoothies or healthy baked goods. Or, even better, bake some pizza and top with lots of veggies! It’s easy, it’s tasty, and kids love it!
If you have kids, there’s a high chance they’re interested in cooking. So, if you’re wondering how to teach kids to cook in a fun and interactive way, the 9 tips discussed above are sure going to come in handy!
Because kids can cook and they love it!