Cooking with Kids

Kids Corner PotatoesA Teachable Feast: Getting Kids into the Kitchen

Kids cooking classes are gaining in popularity, but you don’t have to sign up for a class (yet another activity to schedule and pay for) in order to teach your child the joys of cooking and eating well.

Harness your child’s natural curiosity about food and the kitchen by getting them involved in making healthy snacks and meals at home.

Keep the activities age appropriate:

  • Three to five-year-olds, for example, love to help stir and add pre-measured ingredients. They can also tear lettuce for salads or arrange trays of fruits and vegetables. Use the opportunity to point out shapes, colours and tastes of food.
  • Six to nine-year olds can whisk, measure and mix and older kids may be taught to cut. They can also use a microwave or toaster oven to prepare snacks for themselves.
  • 10 to 12-year olds can prepare easy salads, main dishes and snacks.
  • You can start to teach children as young as four years old the benefits of different foods – for example, that milk helps build strong bones and that vegetables have lots of nutrients for our skin, bones and teeth.
  • As the child grows older, s/he can do more cooking independently. Just read through the recipe before beginning and decide which steps need the guiding hand of a parent.
  • Choose the right time for a kids’ cooking project. March break is a great time to get kids involved in a daily activity like cooking dinner. Get them acquainted with some easy to make snacks they can prepare for themselves.
  • Loosen up when it comes to neatness -- there will be extra mess when kids are involved. To prevent disasters, measure out ingredients separately -- not over the mixing bowl. Offer guidance and patience when things don’t go exactly as planned. If at first an egg is smashed, rather than cracked, let the child try again.
  • Be sure to compliment your child on a great job and offer them the first taste of what you’ve cooked together.