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Get kids excited about helping in the kitchen with these fun tips and easy recipes even the tiniest chef can master. Not only is cooking with kids a great family bonding activity but also an excellent learning experience for kids to build fine motor skills and explore science and math concepts such as fractions and counting. Best of all, the end result is a tasty treat the entire family will be proud of.
My son has been my mini sous-chef since he has been big enough to stand on a step stool. I love watching how proud he is every time he gets to be “mommy’s helper” in the kitchen and it always amazes me what a great listener he is when helping. Lately, we have been doing lots of cooking together mostly out of boredom but also out of need. I have found cooking fresh healthy meals as a family to be a helpful way to extend our food supply and cut back on trips to the grocery store. My son has loved making our own fresh bread each week, homemade granola bars, and a few sweet treats here and there. Check out my favorite tips for cooking with kids along with a few easy to make recipes that kids will love to make and eat.
Win a cookbook for kids!
The Little Spatula Cookbook is filled with recipes that are pleasing to the pickiest of eaters and easy enough for budding chefs to master! Kitchen time is bonding time! Children who assist in the preparation of their meals have a greater sense of accomplishment, appreciation, and empowerment. Not to mention, they will eat whatever they make (including vegetables!). Order a print/digital copy or enter to win a copy from LittleGuide Detroit!
Tips for Success
Here are my go-to tips to make cooking with kids an enjoyable experience for the entire family. Back in my teaching days, a cooking project was just another classroom activity. But, I definitely gained insight into how to be successful when cooking with a classroom full of kiddos. These tips will help make cooking with kids fun, educational and somewhat easy:
- Prepare for the Mess: Everything will get messy- from your clothes to the counter to the floor, and maybe even the walls. Being aware of this from the very beginning helps to make clean up not feel as overwhelming.
- Have Fun: Put your favorite music on, throw on some aprons and give kids plenty of time to enjoy each step of the process. Give kids a few recipes to choose from (check out my favorites below), let them help gather the ingredients and make them in charge of scooping, pouring and mixing. Last but not least, always encourage them to help with the cleanup (easier said than done).
- Teach Safety, Encourage Learning: Safety is a priority so things such as washing hands, never touching the oven/stove, and being safe with knives (especially around toddlers) are all important to review with kids. At the same time, cooking with kids is an excellent hands-on way for kids to learn math concepts, cognitive skills, and healthy eating habits. Ask open-ended questions (What do you think will happen to the cheese after it cooks?), support scientific inquiry (How does the sauce smell now that we’ve added cinnamon?), and incorporate math skills (The recipe calls for 2 cups of flour. Let’s count together to make sure we add enough.)
- Set Aside Time: Cooking with kids requires plenty of time and tons of patience. I’ve found that our family enjoys cooking together the most when my little one is well-fed and well-rested and when we’re in no hurry to get the finished product on the table (aka NOT dinnertime).
LittleGuide Detroit’s favorite breakfast recipes including delicious waffles, easy to make donuts, and the best fluffy pancakes you’ve ever tasted!
Lunch – Turkey Cheddar Apple Pinwheels
With a few simple ingredients, kids will love picking out their own toppings and rolling up this fun to make and delicious to eat lunch.
Dinner – Naan Flatbread Pizza
Naan flatbread is easy (no dough to roll out) and makes the perfect doughy pizza crust. Grab some store-bought Naan or make your own (https://www.budgetbytes.com/naan/) and enjoy a pizza night at home.
Snack – Homemade Hummus
Kids will have a blast mashing garbanzo beans for this healthy and easy to make snack.
What kid (or adult) can resist a pudding cup topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and sprinkles? Let kids take the lead on this one. The finished product may not be pretty but it’ll be tasty and kids will be so proud of their hard work.
ABOUT ASHLEY HUBBARD-PORTER
Ashley Porter is a Chicago native who now calls Birmingham home. Ashley and her husband Mike and son Jake love attending local festivals, exploring Detroit’s diverse food scene, and venturing outside of Metro Detroit to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan. With a background in Early Childhood Education, Ashley loves connecting with and supporting families in her community, which is why she is so excited to be a part of LittleGuide Detroit.