Get Your Kids Cooking!

by Ariane Chacker-Bourrut, Dietetic Intern

Why let them help?

  • Kids are more likely to try the food when they helped cook – they may even try new foods!
  • Helping parents cook can lead to independence in the kitchen, and next time they want a snack they may even be able to get it themselves
  • Cooking can help develop fine motor skills
  • Learning the importance of washing your hands can help outside of the kitchen too
  • Starting early can help make healthy cooking part of their lifestyle

Things you need:

  • A stepstool
  • Kids knifes
  • Clean hands
  1. Choose your recipe together – they may show interest in trying something new or learn how to cook their favorite recipe
  2. If they’d like to, bring them to the grocery store or garden to get ingredients together
  3. Have them collect ingredients – it’s like a scavenger hunt. You can play “hot and cold” to help them find everything. This will help them to know where you keep the food and allow them to gain independence going forward.
  4. Make a mess! Having kids in the kitchen isn’t always the easiest way to cook but it’s worth the extra effort. By letting them make messes and mistakes, they can learn and have more fun.
  5. Taste along the way – and talk about the experience! Talking about tastes, texture, colors, and shapes can help them build their vocabulary and palate. Licking the bowl makes for the best memories of cooking and baking.
  6. Hands are the best tools. Let your kids mix ingredients with clean hands. It’s a sensory bonus!
  7. Use a kids knife so they can practice cutting ingredients. This helps them to learn safety without the risks.

 

There are tasks for your kids at any age!

2-4 years old: Let your kids start to help out!

  • Mixing ingredients
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Helping to measure ingredients
  • Mash soft foods
  • Pouring from one container to another

5-8 years old:

  • Cut with a kids knife if they’re comfortable
  • Crack and beat eggs
  • Grease a tin
  • Knead dough
  • Clean the counters
  • Push blender buttons, under supervision

9 and up:

  • Read the recipe
  • Use a real knife, under supervision
  • Stir foods in the pan, under supervision
  • Teach younger siblings how to cook

Have your kids help you in the kitchen at any age. By trying these steps, you can get them excited about cooking and learning so much. It’s a great approach to getting the whole family involved in healthy eating in a new way.