As his tantrum subsided into just plain old sobbing he managed to tell me he was hungry. That might go some way to explain his meltdown over what seemed like nothing, so I jumped at the chance to fill his belly and redirect him into something more calming.
“Do you want to make yourself some fruit salad? You can do the cutting and make a bowl just for you!”
“Ok” he snuffled…
I dried his tears and set everything up while he went to wash his hands and get an apron. I got out a knife, chopping board, and a bowl and cut the selected fruit into smaller pieces. He dragged over the step stool and began happily chopping fruit and popping it in the bowl. Smiling I wandered away to fold some washing (and snap a photo or two).
Why Cook with Kids?
Cooking is almost like magic around here. Cooking seems to smooth tensions and wipe away tears. I try to remember that when I’m feel like saying no to a request to cook something.
Apart from all the developmental skills kids practice while cooking (maths, science, language, fine motor skills and more), it’s also lots of fun! The kids are learning lots of life skills too, and as your kids get older you can put all the skills they have learned to good use and have them cook dinner once a week. Taking responsibility for making food for themselves or others is so empowering, and that’s one less night you have to cook!
If you need more reasons to cook with your kids pop over and read my article with 16 Reasons to Cook With Kids.
Here’s a fun snack kids can make:
Tips for Cooking with Kids
Including your kids while cooking is going to be harder, and take more time than doing it without them, so make sure you acknowledge that before you say yes and you’ll avoid a lot of frustration for everyone!
And start with easy, quick, low mess recipes.
Fruit salad is perfect for beginners. It’s low mess, and each child can make their own bowl of fruit salad so their is no waiting, or sharing. There is no tricky measuring, or cooking, and you get to eat your creation straight away!
No-cook recipes are also great for kids, or even helping with some steps in making dinner, rather than attempting a special recipe.
Here are some more tips and tricks to make cooking with kids run smoothly:
- A bowl with a handle to hold makes mixing things much easier for small hands.
- A butter knife or serrated plastic knife (even a disposable one) will cut lots of things but won’t cut little fingers.
- Washing hands and wearing an apron is important, so is tying up long hair so it doesn’t hang in the cake mix!
- Kids are going to want to taste things along the way. If you don’t want fingers in the cake mix, be prepared with some spoons for testing.
- Helping to cook dinner when you are in a hurry won’t end well, get them to help on a night when you are not so rushed.
- For little people a good, stable, step to stand on so they are at the right height is essential
- It’s going to be messy, accept that and prepare for it. Get the kids to help clean up, my kids love to wash dishes.
Recipes to Cook with Kids
From super simple to making dinner on their own, here are some recipes that the kids can cook with help, and eventually, on their own.
What do you like to cook with your kids??
Feel free to leave a link to a great kid friendly recipe in the comments.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
[email protected] says
So many adults cook to make themselves feel better and so I can see how it can work on children too. Great post. Thanks for all the great recipes.
Kate - An Everyday Story says
Yep cooking is always a winner here too. Doesn’t matter in the slightest what they are cooking, they are happy with anything and everything. And cooking is probably the ONLY activity which sees Sarah stay put and concentrate for more than 30 seconds!
Lovely post :)
I think I’m really hungry and thirsty.. or, I am now after seeing those lovely recipes of yours. Great tips and I totally agree about choosing the right times to involve them. The last minute dinner rush isn’t a great time. haha :)
Having smaller sized utensils works for us. We have small size graters, whisks, tongs, mixing spoons, spatulas etc. It means they can maneuver them more easily.
The older 3 make these on their own and the 7 & 4 year old only need a little bit of help. http://planningwithkids.com/2009/10/05/chocolate-balls-recipe-and-family-menu-plan/
The older kids also cook eggs frequently and we are working on teaching the to cook homebaked oven fries.
thanks for a lovely post, i adore cooking and so i think the enthusiasm is contagious over here… my 4 year old can now make himself french toast, and only needs a bit of a hand to whizz up a batch of pancakes. he also LOVES spooning mixture into tins or onto trays. miss 2 is always around to help stir, measure, pour, and test taste of course :)
favourite recipes over here include…
– nutella and banana swirls (similar to your jam swirls)
– anzac biscuits
– cupcakes/muffins (the veggie smugglers chocolate/bran/zucchini muffin recipe is a winner!)
– any sort of cake… banana is a favourite :)
– stir fry/ fried rice/ fruit salad – we enjoy chopping :)
– avocado sandwiches – spreading is as much fun as chopping :)
– baked cinnamon doughnuts… mmmm…
– your cinnamon pizza!!!!!!!!!!! i am a little bit cinnamon obsessed :)
– and i have just printed out your oat cookies recipe to crack out this afternoon – it is a cold and dreary day here so i think the house needs a bit of baked cinnamon goodness smell :) thanks!
Miss 3 1/2 has just discovered her love of cooking thanks to doing cooking at daycare and has really started showing an interest when I cook.
So far we’ve done cupcakes, rocky road, pancakes, pizza dough and chocolate slice.
rebecca at thisfineday says
It’s hard to pick just one! I love having the kids with me in the kitchen. They can learn so much by pouring, measuring, mixing and the pride of seeing a job from beginning to end.
love those face biscuits!
My boys are too young to start helping with the cooking yet (only 18 months) but they are extremely interested so when I have the time and an extra set of hands I pop them up on the stools and show them what I’m doing and give them their own bowl and wooden spoon to play with, they love it!
Cooking with children is fun. I always enjoyed it. For children it’s like exploring a new place in world, and I got so many great inspiring ideas.
Danya Banya says
I love cooking with JJ. I can’t wait for Bee to be old enough to help too. Thanks for the recipes!
Norma Rickman says
So glad some mums are making teaching their kids to cook a priority! They’ll appreciate it when they get older. Eating out every night because you don’t know how to cook is just ridiculous! Bad for your health, and worse for your budget. It’s such a great way to teach math skills too.
Harlow's Harvest says
Wonderful tips, and great list of recipes. It’s difficult to just choose one — they all look delicious and fun to cook with kids. Thanks for sharing!