Cooking with Children: Make it Fun, Safe & Memorable!

Sharing the kitchen with your child can not only create a lifetime of happy memories, but can also instill valuable life lessons from a young age. Through baking, cooking and even cleaning up, children can develop and express their creativity and independence; explore new foods; learn about nutrition; enhance their math, reading and science skills; and, most importantly, spend valuable quality time with mom, dad and siblings.

Below are a few tips to help make kitchen time with your little one fun, safe and memorable:

Always stress cleanliness and safety in the kitchen.

  • Wash hands before, after and as-needed during the process.
  • Provide your child with a sturdy, non-slip step stool to stand on so they are at your level.
  • Use kid-friendly wood or plastic utensils.
  • Let them choose their own apron or buy a plain one that they can personalize with fabric markers. Covering up will help cut down on the cleanup afterward.
  • Keep sharp knives, graters and other dangerous tools/appliances away from small hands.
  • Explain that only mom and dad can use the stove, oven and other electrical appliances.
  • Supervise your child closely. Stay in the room until the cooking is complete. If you need to leave for some reason, take them with you.

Include your child in the preparation.

  • Decide together what to make.
  • Read the recipe together thoroughly and gather all ingredients before beginning.  Take them shopping with you for the ingredients and/or have them help select what you need from the cupboard.

Start out easy.

  • When first introducing your child to the joy of baking, use simple recipes with basic ingredients and uncomplicated instructions.
  • Box mixes are a great way to get started. They usually ask for only two or three added ingredients and provide easy-to-follow, detailed instructions right on the box.
  • As your child learns more about the cooking and baking process, feel free to introduce more complex recipes.

Let them do it.

  • This is a great learning opportunity for your little one, so let them measure and pour ingredients into the bowl. It’s not only a good math lesson, but also bolsters their confidence.

Taste and praise!

  • Learning to cook and bake should be a fun experience for your child, so always be enthusiastic about tasting their masterpiece and praise the effort and the outcome, no matter what. They’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment and be excited for their next cooking adventure!