Most children love to be involved in the kitchen. They truly do. Sometimes they need a bit of encouragement, but once they are in the kitchen, they tend to ask to do more things than we are ready to let them do 😉 .
My children, now 5 and 8 years old, have been spending time with me in the kitchen since they were very little. At the beginning they would push buttons and dump ingredients in a bowl. As time passed I, and them, felt more confident in their kitchen skills and allowed them to do more complex tasks such as measuring, mixing, pouring, cutting etc.
When children spend time in the kitchen, they learn quite a bit. They not only learn how to cook – which is an important life skill every child should have – but they also:
- build fine motor skills such as whisking, pouring, mixing, spreading, peeling, grating, mashing etc.
- develop their vocabulary and logical thinking
- practice following step-by-step directions
- practice language skills and counting
- use it as a great outlet for creativity
- build confidence not only in the kitchen, but also outside the kitchen
- learn responsibility over making their own meals
- will have the satisfaction of a job well done
My son cutting celery for egg salad – we make it with boiled eggs, radishes, celery and homemade mayo. Yum!
Since I already covered the reasons why your child should learn how to cook, I thought it would be useful to know how to encourage your child to spend time in the kitchen with you. I LOVE lists, so I compiled a few easy steps to motivate you and give you a clear direction that will help you and your child make yummy and healthy recipes together.
The kids and I made pizza egg bunnies. They turned out deeeeelicious!
Simple Steps to Teach your Child How to Cook
Step 1. Choose a recipe together. Choose one that is a family favorite or one from a cookbook or blog you trust. Avoid complex recipes that take hours to prepare and cook.
Step 2. Shop together for ingredients you need but don’t have in the kitchen. Take the recipe with you and explain to your child where each ingredient can be found. Now it would be a good time to also explain to them how each store is organized.
Step 3. Plan to make the recipe when both of you are rested and not rushed. Preferably over the weekend when you don’t have other plans and can spend around 1 uninterrupted hour together in the kitchen.
Step 4. Prepare the ingredients in advance if you child is younger so they don’t wait around while you prepare ingredients and risk losing interest before they actually help make the recipe. Otherwise, if your child is older you can prepare the ingredients together.
Step 5. Accept there will be a mess. If you don’t accept this and are not mentally ready for the mess, the whole cooking experience with your child will be frustrating 😉 .
Step 6. Read the recipe steps to your child or let your child read them if they can read.
Step 7. Make the whole experience fun for you and your child by staying relaxed and engaged with your child.
Step 8. Share what you made with the rest of the family and praise your child for the great job they did in the kitchen.
Step 9. Repeat 🙂 .
If you are still shy about spending time with your child in the kitchen, I would like to tell you know that I have created a series of cooking classes for children. Your child gets to cook with me and then gets to share with you and the rest of the family at home their knowledge.
These cooking classes will be a great starting point for your child. And even if your child had spent some time in the kitchen with you before, the cooking classes will give them more confidence and teach them to be more independent in the kitchen.
My son prepared a “small snack” for his little sister (a slice of bread with nut butter and jam, apple slices with nut butter, homemade popcorn, chocolate-covered quinoa, a glass of water and a glass of water with honey and apple cider vinegar.)
I want to inspire your child to want to learn how to cook for themselves and for their loved ones. My 8-year old son is already making simple meals like chicken noodle soup from scratch (although he “lets” me cut the onion as it makes him cry) and small breakfasts for the entire family – scrambled eggs, smoothies, porridge, fried eggs and bacon, chia breakfast pudding just to name a few examples.
My 5-year old daughter helping me make porridge for breakfast on a lazy, relaxing Saturday.
I want your child to learn about healthy food and about how nutrients keep children healthy and happy and give them energy to stay focused at school, learn new things and play.
Last night my son asked for some food while he was watching a show on Netflix with his sister. When I asked what kind of food he wanted (which I never do, but I was in a good mood so I wanted him to choose), he said “I want some healthy food.” I giggled at his answer as I haven’t heard him ask for “healthy food” before. At the same time I was proud of him (and myself) because he proved that he internalized the lessons I have been teaching him (and his sister) since they were little.
This is the same pizza egg recipe as above which we also made into hearts.
Healthy food is not only nutritious and good for us, but also delicious. I want your child to learn not only how to cook, but to also appreciate and explore flavours, textures and smells. I want your child to learn how to use age-appropriate kitchen tools and also learn about kitchen safety and hygiene.
If you live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, I hope you’ll consider enrolling your child in The Hands-On Educational Cooking Classes that will start in January 2018. We’ll make easy, delicious and nutritious recipes together. What better Christmas or birthday present could you give your child? Or maybe you don’t need a special reason. Your child learning an important life skill can be a big enough reason.
Let’s help our children learn how to feed themselves with wholesome, real ingredients and let’s prepare them for a healthy future!
I am looking forward to meeting your child and cooking up a storm together!
My daughter helping me make a delicious dessert (apple crisp).