Simple, hands-on activities are perfect for preschool aged chefs to perfect their motor skills and develop their fine motor skills. Plus, kids are more likely to try new foods if they help prepare it. Preschoolers can help with:
Stirring or whisking ingredients in a bowl
Elementary aged children are learning to control smaller muscles in their fingers, so cooking is a perfect way for them to help. And measuring ingredients helps to sharpen math skills. Let them help with:
Cutting soft foods with a blunt knife
Meal planning and shopping for ingredients
Using a blender or mixer
Prepare teens for more advanced cooking tasks as they learn sequences and problem solving. Introduce recipes that offer experiences such as:
Using stovetop and oven, with supervision if necessary
Sharp knife skills
Planning a meal within a budget
Practice Food Safety
Good cooks of all ages wash their hands before and frequently during the cooking process and foods should not be sampled until fully cooked to avoid the potential for foodborne illness.
Expect Spills and Messes
This can be one of the most challenging parts for parents who want to cook with their kids. The upside is that making messes also means learning how to clean up!
Keep it Quick and Easy
When dealing with younger children and tweens who may have shorter attention spans, assign simple tasks and give clear instructions. Also, try assigning tasks as you go to ensure focus on the task at hand.