14 Fun Ways to Help Kids Learn to Love Cooking

Coming up with fun, family friendly activities to do at home can sometimes be a challenge and every parent knows just how hard it is to always be finding ideas to beat the boredom. A fabulous pastime that brings the family closer is to get together in the kitchen and teach kids how to cook.

Depending on the child’s age, there are many approaches to make cooking interesting. Because children learn in different ways than adults, the right kind of stimulation is important to keep in mind. These 14 fantastic tips will be sure to make learning to cook something kids will be keen to do.

14 Tips for Cooking with Kids

1. Teach your kids how to make some of their favourite foods, that way you’ll have them on board and invested in the outcome right from the start.

2. Begin with simple recipes that are hard to get wrong, such as scrambled eggs, pancakes, toast and spaghetti, or roast potatoes and vegetables. It’s important to start off with the basics to build confidence before progressing to more advanced meals.

3. Cook meals that are quick to prepare and ready to eat in just a few minutes. Children’s attention spans are limited so seeing rapid results is very satisfying.

4. Encourage your young ones to choose the menu for an entire meal and don’t worry if the tastes don’t match up or go together well. The main idea is to help them feel good about their choices.

5. Making cakes, biscuits, or special treats that they wouldn’t routinely eat will definitely pique their interest and get them invested in the cooking process.

6. Introduce some light-hearted, novelty themes by making scary shaped cookies, garish deserts, and other playful and evocative motifs. Christmas, Halloween, or Easter themed recipes can also be an excellent way to get kids fully involved.

7. Children are very kinaesthetic which means they learn best by touching, feeling, and doing. Let them be hands on as much as possible by rolling dough, patting meatballs together, or mixing ingredients with their fingertips.

8. Allocate simple tasks they are capable of doing and trust them to manage it in their own way without pressure. Try not to over monitor or expect everything to go exactly to plan and don’t take it all too seriously. The aim is to introduce cooking as a fun and wholesome activity that becomes engrained so that they can gradually build up their skills.

9. Incorporate colours, photographs, and even stories to show the final result and explain the different principles of cooking. Help the kids to translate the steps of a recipe into a drawing and involve as many senses as possible so that the knowledge sticks on multiple levels.

10. Buy a few special kids aprons and make a show of getting dressed up and prepared for the fun. Kids love routines and rituals and having an outfit that is just for them will bring great delight.

11. Be a good mentor and guide. Offer encouragement rather than criticism and be sure to explain things in simple terms that children can understand. Learning takes place gradually over time and it can be hard as an adult to remember what it was like being a total beginner. Try and see the exercise through a child’s eyes and appreciate the perspective they bring as well as their limitations.

12. Make sure there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy the process. Don’t try and teach them to cook when you are stressed or rushing towards a deadline. Remember that children are soaking up experiences and attitudes from you all the time. Cooking is something that you want strong, positive associations to be formed around.

13. Help the kids bake a cake or treat for a birthday, Mother’s day, or special occasion that other family members will enjoy receiving.

14. Depending on the age of the children, link their learning to other knowledge and skills. Cooking is a natural way to become familiar with weights, measures, temperature, maths, and science.

There really is nothing more satisfying as a parent than to see your children building their skills and confidence and taking to new tasks with enthusiasm and zeal. Cooking is a talent that will serve them well for many years to come and you can be certain they will be forever grateful for your patient nurturing and consistent encouragement in the kitchen.

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