The Benefits of Cooking with Kids
There are countless benefits of cooking with kids, for you AND for them. Spend time together, learn new things and taste your creations all while learning to cook.
Start your experience in the garden. Let the kids help you plant and grow something that you can use in your recipe.
Plan your menu and go shopping together for the ingredients.
Use your imagination and come up with your own recipes.
Whether making a meal, a dessert, a holiday treat or a snack, cooking with kids can be very rewarding for all of you.
Here are some of the benefits of cooking with kids.
Talk about health.
Cooking provides an opportunity to discuss healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle. Learning good eating habits is easier and more fun when kids are cooking the meals themselves.
Learn math skills
This may be obvious, but you know it takes a little math to double a recipe or measure a cup of flour. Cooking also involves adding, dividing, multiplying and fractions. Half a cup, 2 teaspoons, and figuring out the number of tablespoons in a stick of butter.
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During the cooking process, you use new terms that are unique to the kitchen. Naming the spices in the recipe, measurements, sauteeing, grating, and dicing are all new words to learn while making the best pie in town.
Learn science concepts
Cooking is a never-ending science experiment. Add too much salt or baking powder or not enough flour and the result could be a disaster. Leave the dish in the oven too long and you’re likely to have burned mess on your hands. Cooking provides an opportunity for kids to get hands-on experience with basic science.
Increase fine motor skills
It takes some dexterity to shape cookie dough into balls, use a knife to cut vegetables, stir a mixture in a bowl, or use a rolling pin. Cooking requires the use of these fine motor skills.
Encourage focus and attention
There is a need for some patience to see a recipe through from beginning to end. Children must focus on each step, add the proper ingredients, wait for the pot to boil, the pie to bake, or the meat to brown. You must pay attention to a hot stove, remove pans when the food is done, be careful with sharp knives and glass bowls. It requires focus and attention to work in a kitchen. KidsHealth shares some ways to keep kids safe in the kitchen.
And that’s not all! Here are some more benefits of cooking with kids!
Learn cooking techniques
Kids can’t help but learn cooking techniques while they cook with you. They will learn to mix, blend, cream, whip, saute, fry, and boil. There will be lessons on the purpose of the different pans, which knife to use, and how to tenderize the meat. They may even learn to use a BBQ grill, a griddle or a waffle iron.
A big part of cooking is being able to follow directions. Directions to complete a recipe, how to use an appliance, how to organize the necessary items and ingredients they will need, and overall directions from the chef in charge.
Young children are naturally curious and ready to explore the world. They use all their senses to take it all in. Cooking provides stimulation of the senses: smelling the cookies baking, rolling out the dough, hearing the sizzle in the pan, many new tastes, and peeking in the oven door to watch a cake rise.
Appreciation for those who cook
After some time spent in the kitchen, kids can see what it takes to produce a meal. They can see the love and patience that goes into each batch of cookies, and the care and precision it takes to complete the perfect recipe. It won’t take long to understand and appreciate the people who do this for them every day.
Appreciation for good food
Cooking a meal from scratch is so much better than opening a box, a can, or grabbing something from the freezer. You may even spoil the kids with enough home-cooked vittles they’ll never go back to prepackaged meals. When a child cooks a meal, he has a stake in the outcome and will most likely be more willing to try new foods. Encourage kids to appreciate food.
Builds Confidence and Independence
When a child learns to cook, he learns that he can do things for himself. If he can make brownies, he may also be willing to try other challenging tasks that may have previously seemed impossible. Children who cook can see their abilities and are able to apply them in other life situations.
Teaching children the way around a kitchen, having the ability to fix meals for themselves, and the confidence to do so will be very useful as adulthood and self-reliance take over their lives. They will grow up knowing how to fend for themselves at mealtime.
An Opportunity to Pass Down Family Recipes
Take this time you spend together to share recipes from your family. Share traditional foods at Thanksgiving, cookie recipes at Christmas, and your favorite birthday cakes or special treats. As you cook together, use a recipe binder to record these special recipes for the future. Children will one day appreciate having these written down.
Cooking together, spending time in the kitchen, having a tasting session with family and sharing the creations with others is a sweet bonding time. Precious memories are made with fresh baked goodies! Cooking brings cooks of all ages together with a common purpose.
Cooking is just plain fun. Add a few sprinkles, color some icing, crack an egg. Tell a joke, tell stories of cooking disasters, talk about your favorite dishes. Get flour on your nose, burn a pan of cookies, make treats for others. Spend time having fun in the kitchen.
And the result is good food you have made together.
Head to the kitchen. Whip up a little something. Get out your camera and take some pictures! Enjoy the benefits of cooking with kids.
And as always,
Keep Passing Down the Love,
P.S. You might like to check out Kidstir! It’s a subscription service for monthly, home-delivered cooking kits that provide hands-on food adventures for children.