Cooking with kids is a fun, easy, and delicious way to teach them healthy eating habits and get them started on a lifetime of adventurous eating!
Getting children to eat a wide variety of wholesome foods isn’t always easy. But children who spend time shopping and cooking with their parents and grandparents are more likely to view healthy eating as an adventure rather than a chore.
Kids who spend time in the kitchen from an early age are more likely to develop good eating habits. Cooking can also help children develop age-appropriate skills like hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, organizational abilities, and problem solving.
When cooking with kids, it’s important to remember a few things:
- Keep it simple. Young children have limited attention spans so stick to simple recipes that can be made quickly and give them tasks as you go, instead of presenting them with a big list at the beginning. Older children can tackle more complicated tasks and recipes.
- Embrace messes. No matter how much fun, cooking can be a messy business. Have cleaning tools readily available and encourage everyone to clean as they go. In the end, everyone should embrace the process…and the mess!
- Encourage children to taste what they create. This is one of the best ways to coax picky palates into trying something new.
- Food safety is important. Teach kids to always wash their hands before cooking and after handling foods like raw meat. Showing them how to use a thermometer to cook foods to proper temperatures before eating is also important.
- Take your time. Build in extra time when cooking with children, especially the younger ones. Learn to enjoy your time together and embrace the slower pace.
Cooking with kids can be as simple or complex as you’d like, depending on the ages of the children. Here are a few kitchen tasks to consider with your kids depending on their age:
- Preschool – Assign tasks that focus on developing fine motor skills like wiping tables and counters, washing fruit and veggies, tearing lettuce, kneading bread, stirring ingredients and pouring liquids:
- Elementary School – Choose tasks that help them use their smaller finger muscles like opening cartons, setting the table, grating cheese and cutting soft foods with a dull knife:
- Teens & Tweens – Assign tasks that focus on sequences, problem solving and measuring like following recipes, opening cans, warming soup, shredding meat and seasoning dishes:
Looking for some basic recipe ideas to try with the kids? Check out some of our favorites:
Cabot Cheese Board Recipes:
Here are eight totally fun, totally yummy recipes perfect for kids in the kitchen from some of the talented bloggers of the Cabot Cheese Board.
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This post is an updated version of an original post from 10/29/15