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Tips for cooking with kids

Are you ready to start cooking with kids but aren’t sure what your kids are capable of? I’m sharing tips on how to assign tasks and what tools are best. There are so many benefits to getting your kids involved in cooking. 

Would you love to have kids who are not only great eaters but confident in the kitchen? Even if your children are older it’s never to late to start.

Plus, involving kids in the cooking process is a great way to introduce kids to cuisines and cultures from around the world..

See my resource guide on How to teach your children to be world explorers for even more tips and tricks!

Why is cooking with kids important?

Teaching kids to cook is an incredibly important life skill that has become surprisingly uncommon. Kids can also be incredibly helpful when you are sick or as life gets busier if you know how to use them.

Also, children can experience an increase in self esteem which could possibly carry over into other areas. An added bonus is the quality time they experience as they cook with someone they love.

There are countless studies showing that this kind of time spent with your children reaps huge dividends.

Most importantly, when kids help cook they are way more likely to try new foods because they were an integral part of making it! There is a lot of pride that comes from knowing you created something, for both kids and adults.

Here are 15+ easy dinner recipes kids can make if you are ready to jump in, or save the list for later when you are ready.

A girl adding decorations to cooked cookies
Want to save this for later reference? Pin the image above!

How to be successful cooking with kids

It has done wonders for my family to make the time to cook with my kids but there are some things you can do to make it fun for everyone.

Choose a recipe you already know

By choosing a simple recipe or one you are already familiar with you will spend less time reading the recipe and feeling flustered.  Plus, this means that children will be less bored while you to figure out what to do next.

Another way to reduce stress is to choose ready made products to cut down on the number of ingredients or steps you are doing.  Some of my favorite ones when cooking with kids is to use a boxed cake or brownie mix as a base.

The key is to make it fun with as little stress as possible on YOU.  Using store bought products is a really easy way to speed up the process while allowing kids to enjoy the overall process.

Click here for more tips to reduce stress and mess when teaching your kids to cook

Plan extra time to make the recipe

Time constraints seem to be the most popular reason for not getting your kids in the kitchen. Involving them can definitely cause the amount of time to make a recipe to significantly increase, especially the younger the children are.

Assign tasks

Giving kids tasks that are appropriate for their age helps reduce the stress (and mess!) for both you and your child.

Also important to remember is that some children may need more guidance with preforming the tasks. For some children they may catch on quickly while others may need repeated visual and physical help to complete their tasks.

Here are some ways kids can help with cooking:

  • measuring wet or dry ingredients
  • stirring ingredients in a bowl
  • rinsing fruits or vegetables
  • pouring liquid ingredients
  • mashing ingredients like bananas, potatoes, or cooked vegetables
  • rolling out dough with a rolling pin or patting dough down with their hands
  • using cookie cutters
  • cutting soft fruits with a butter knife or plastic knife
  • pick herbs off stems
  • use kid safe scissors to cut herbs or soft ingredients like tortillas
  • pick stems from fruits like grapes
  • whisk eggs, whipped cream, or batters
  • peel with a vegetable peeler
  • crack eggs
  • use a can opener
  • use a box grater
  • juice citrus fruits
  • shuck corn
  • read a recipe
  • use a hand crank pasta machine
  • use a paring knife or other small knife
  • start and stop timers
  • use thermometers
  • scramble eggs
  • make grilled cheese
  • flip pancakes
  • knead dough
  • help plan with meal planning
  • use large knives
  • use and clean most kitchen appliances like blender, stand mixer, food processor, waffle maker
  • use the stove top or oven
  • follow a recipe on their own
  • make breads and muffins
  • cook meats on a grill or stove top

See the list here for a breakdown of age appropriate cooking tasks for kids.

Tips for cooking with kids

I’ve created a set of videos on how to teach kids to cook and what tools you would need. You can see that playlist below!

It includes videos on these topics:

  • Helping picky eaters through play
  • How to teach kids to use knives safely
  • Basic kids cooking utensils
  • Easy tips to get your kids to try new foods

Essential tools for cooking with kids

I’ve put together a list of some basic tools that will come in handy when cooking with kids. 

Kids Aprons

Not only are kid sized aprons fun for kids, unless you love doing loads of laundry, they help keep your kiddos clean. If you do enjoy doing mountains of laundry please come over and tackle mine! Thanks!

Non-slip mixing bowls

Mixing bowls with non-slip bottoms are a life saver when cooking with kids. The rubber bottoms help to prevent slippage from over excited mixing or accidental knocks.

Spring whisk

The whisking motion can be hard for younger kids to really understand. Using this bouncy spring whisk is a more natural movement for them since it works in a up and down motion.

Non-slip cutting boards

For the same reasons above, non slip cutting boards make everything less stressful. Plus, when you are ready to involve sharp knives having cutting boards that won’t slip makes everyone feel more confident.

Egg slicer

An egg slicer can be used for more than just slicing eggs. It is perfect for slicing soft foods like mushrooms and strawberries and a simple motion for even the littlest chefs.

Wavy knife

This wavy knife is another great starting tool for kiddos. It is great for cutting soft foods like bananas, cheese, cucumbers, or cooked vegetables. 

 Kid sized chef knife or paring knife

Although you can start little ones off with a butter knife to cut soft foods, eventually they will be ready to upgrade to a real knife. 

I love this knife because it has a ring guide to help kids learn to hold a knife properly plus it comes with a finger guard. The finger guard is a great tool to teach kids how to tuck their fingers together to protect them when cutting.

Cutting gloves

If handing your child a knife strikes fear in your heart, cutting gloves can give you a little bit of extra security. Although they won’t protect their little hands from everything, they can definitely help prevent the stray knife cut from inflicting a ton of damage.

See more top tools for cooking with kids!

Are there any tools you have found essential for cooking with kids? Have any tips to share? Leave a comment and let us know what has worked for you!

2 Comments

  1. What a great post! Thank you for doing this. I think that it is so important to work with your children to teach them how to cook. And like you said, it is not just that you are teaching them an important life skill, but it is an opportunity to share some quality time.

    1. Thank you Audrey for your kind comment! There are so many benefits to cooking with your kids that it’s worth trying even on a really basic level to do. And I think for the most part it can actually be enjoyable.

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