Every child can benefit from having some fun in the kitchen! So since school is out – it is a great opportunity to get a little dirty and make a mess. If you already have children with a good relationship with food they will love trying out some new recipes. Even if you have a child that is struggling with eating a variety of food they will benefit from making food fun. Cooking in the kitchen can help all children have fun and learn to be comfortable around new foods.
Without the hustle and bustle of a full day at school, it may have opened up some more time at night or maybe even during the day to teach your children to get involved in playing with food. Cooking with kids has so many benefits.
Involving your children with food by cooking can increase their exposure to new foods. The more exposure to foods your child has, the more likely they are to eventually learn to sneak up on those foods. It doesn’t mean they will happily eat what they make, but it will help them to have a more neutral exposure to them.
Cooking provides a great opportunity to help your young children develop fine motor skills.
Toddlers – They benefit from large spaces and large bowls and a lot of supervision because they are developing fine motor skills. They are busy using large muscles. Stirring, scrubbing, pouring and patting are great options for them.
Preschoolers – They have more precision – they can start to measure using measuring cups and spoons as well as all the things the younger kids can do. They can roll cookies, meatballs, spread batter into muffin tins or cake pans. They often enjoy spreading sauce onto pizza. They love dropping food – such as shredded cheese on the pizza or chocolate chips on top of the cookies.
Older Kids – As children get older they benefit from learning to slice and dice food. They can learn to safely turn on the stove top or oven and cook easy foods such as scrambled eggs or grilled cheese. They are also very good at measuring with precision. They also enjoy peeling vegetables, using a zester or shredding cheese.
You don’t know how many teenagers that I work with that have no idea how to cook anything. Cooking really is a life skill. Imagine sending your 18 year old off to college with no idea how to put a meal together – feeding themselves will probably be a struggle. The earlier you start the more they can learn to enjoy it or at least ‘get by’ with cooking as they get older.
Math Skills – Uses basic math skills (adding, subtracting, multiplying, fractions)
Reading Skills – Learning to read recipes and follow directions
Science – Cooking is a science experiment – observing what happens before and after food is cooked. Observing touch, taste, smells and textures.
…and I think the most important bonding with your kids and making memories!!
I’ve complied a list of of 15 Fun Recipes to Help Your Child Get Involved with Cooking in the Kitchen
- English Muffin Pizzas
- Strawberry Banana Smoothies
- Banana Ice Cream
- Yogurt Ice Pops
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Yogurt Covered Berries on a Stick
- Pepperoni Pizza Crescents
- Breakfast Sushi
- Cucumber Sandwiches
- Apple Cookies
- Rainbow Pancakes
- Trail Mix
- Cherry Icee Drink
- Scrambled Eggs
- Pancake Bites
If you have a child that is too young to cook or doesn’t love the idea of making recipes, it doesn’t mean you can’t create some fun around food. Here are 10 great ideas that use food as ways to have fun.
- Spaghetti Play
- Stuck in the Mud
- Color Sorting Bin
- Color Rice
- Jello Jiggler
- Garden Vegetable Printing
- Mashed Potato Snowmen
- Edible Finger Paint
- Watermelon Volcano
- Rainbow Potato Smash
I’ve linked all these recipes to my Pinterest board ‘Food Fun For Kids.’ Feel free to follow for all the recipes as I update them with new ideas.
Sometimes cooking with kids and food play can be messy, but it will be so worth it when your children experiences the self-confidence around cooking and learn to sneak up on a variety of food. It lays the foundation for healthy eating habits.