Children of all ages learn by touching, tasting, feeling, smelling and listening. They love to help prepare food because they can use all their senses - and they like to eat the foods they make. Cooking with kids helps teach them the skills they will need to become an independent eater later in life and helps them learn the joys of eating and preparing healthful foods.
Cooking tips for kids of all ages
- Food safety comes first. Good cooks of all ages always wash their hands before cooking and should wait until a dish is done before sampling to help prevent illness.
- Parents and caregivers should expect spills and messes. Have kids help with the cleanup so they can understand the importance of cleaning up after themselves.
- When dealing with short attention spans, assign quick, simple jobs and give clear direction. It's best to assign tasks as they go, otherwise kids may become distracted and focused on the future tasks.
- Encourage children to taste the foods they've prepared. Expanding palates is one of the key benefits to child-involved food preparation.
Growing into becoming a good cook
Preschool age children are perfecting their motor skills and developing their fine motor skills. They will enjoy activities such as:
- washing vegetables and fruits
- wiping tables
- dipping vegetables and fruits
- tearing lettuce and salad greens
- breaking bread for stuffing
- snapping fresh beans
- mixing batters
- kneading bread dough
Elementary age children are learning to control smaller muscles in their fingers. Offer them experiences such as:
- opening cartons and bottles
- pouring liquids into a batter
- shaking a milk drink
- rolling bananas in cereal for a snack
- mashing soft fruits and vegetables
- measuring dry and liquid ingredients
tweens & teens
Tweens & Teens are learning sequences and problem solving. Offer them experiences such as:
- beating eggs for scrambled eggs and omelets
- warming soup in saucepan and ladling into bowls
- shredding cheese for quesadillas and assembling for microwave
- pulling cooked slow-cooker pork for barbecue sandwiches
- tossing cubed vegetables with oil & seasoning and placing on roasting pan
Click here to download our Kid Friendly Snacks Brochure