Cooking with kids
Teaching your children to cook is one of the most rewarding activities you can do together especially when you get it right.
We’ve created a guide for different age groups so you know which tasks are safe, appropriate and fun for your kids, from toddlers to teens.
Safety first though so before you get the kids sprinkling cheese or stirring cake mix, get safety-savvy in the kitchen and scroll down to see our 10 top tips for cooking with kids in the kitchen.
Ready? It’s time to start mixing, cooking, baking and blending! Remember it doesn’t matter if the milk spills, the brownies are overcooked or the cheese twists end up as pastry splodges. It’s about spending quality time together, praising their efforts and introducing them to the fun and skills of cooking.
10 top tips for cooking with kids in the kitchen
From washing their hands to picking the right recipes, here are our 10 top tips for cooking with kids in the kitchen and how to make it a fun and stress free activity for the whole family!
1. Make sure your kitchen is clean
Do your bit by making sure pans are on the back burners or with the handles facing inwards, not leaving electrical leads within reach and ensuring kettles and other equipment are pushed to the back of the work surface so they can’t be accidentally knocked over.
Keeping the kitchen clean and tidy before cooking with your kids will prevent any unwanted accidents and encourage them to be tidy too!
2. Teach your kids to wash their hands
Teach the kids to always wash their hands – before cooking, after sneezing, after using the bathroom, after coughing and after handling any raw meat.
It’s always a good habit to have, but it’s crucial in the kitchen. Colourful soaps or character themed bottles will make it less of a chore and more of a fun activity!
3. Plan, plan and plan some more
Little children aren’t blessed with an abundance of patience, so have your ingredients and any equipment ready to go – this will keep them focused and make them less likely to wander off and get into mischief.
Recipes with fewer ingredients are also better, especially for younger age groups, and will be less stress for you too.
4. Pick the right recipes
Pick the right recipes for your children’s age. Just as turning up at a theme park to find your child’s too young or too short to go on most rides, an over-ambitious cooking project can trigger the same disappointed look!
Toddlers can help decorate cupcakes, while 5-year-olds can mix and measure. By the same token, no 12-year-old wants to be told not to touch the cooker so progress as necessary and use our cooking with kids guides for different age groups above to help you.
5. Teach them all about knives
Knives are of course a no-go for little ones, but older children can learn to cut certain ingredients. Show them how to cut away from themselves but save the trickier ingredients for yourself.
You don’t want to be over-protective and discourage them so supervise and help when needed. They’ll get the hang of it after a few gos and it’ll make cooking that little bit more special for them.
6. Avoid raw egg
The kids won’t thank you for this but no licking the mixing bowl if it contains raw egg – that means brownie mix, biscuit dough, the lot!
Raw eggs are the main source of salmonella, so give them the job of Chief Taster instead after it’s cooked. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
7. Don’t leave them alone
Don’t leave younger kids alone in the kitchen and as a precaution, keep matches, lighters and pan handles where they can’t reach them. A child safety catch on the oven door and lower cupboards is a good idea too.
8. Turn cooking into a game
If it’s hard to get your kids involved in the kitchen then turn cooking into a fun game for the whole family!
Make funny faced pizzas, set challenges with foodie rewards or get your stopwatch out and time them – like who can wash up the baking utensils the quickest… well, we can dream can’t we?!
9. Teach them about dangers in the kitchen
Teach them about dangers in the kitchen. From the oven to the microwave, it’s best to tell your children about every single item in your kitchen and how it works before you begin cooking.
If you set them limits and boundaries they will stay out of trouble and there won’t be any ouchies in your household!
10. Get everyone involved
Get everyone involved! If you’ve got a couple of kids, get them cooking together. This will help to teach them all about team work and get them bonding too.
Your kids could even have friends over for cooking sessions and they could be set the challenge of making each others packed lunches for the next day.
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