How Can You Get Your Kids Into Cooking? Try These 4 Tips

How Can You Get Your Kids Into Cooking? Try These 4 Tips

Teaching kids to cook can be a challenge, but the experience is worth it. Helping kids understand how their food goes from garden to table or fridge to pan is an important part of life. Cooking is a skill that can go a long way in helping kids (and adults) eat more nutritious, satisfying meals. The question is, how can you get kids into cooking? How do you get them excited to make their own food? Here are a few tips to get the ball rolling.

Give Kids (Some) Control in the Kitchen

It’s time to give kids the keys to the kitchen! If your goal is to get them excited about cooking, baking, and food preparation, they need to feel like they’re in control. Start by assigning them specific tasks. Younger kids can help you gather ingredients from the fridge or pantry. They can also help measure and mix. Older kids can help with the more “intense” parts of cooking, such as chopping, mincing, grating, or using the stove. It’s all about showing kids the fundamentals of using various kitchen tools while turning basic ingredients into something more—all while guiding them along the way.

Start with Simple Recipes

As you introduce kids to cooking and baking, start simple—and keep things familiar. Start with a recipe that they might already know and love. For instance, maybe you make a mean chicken broccoli rice casserole. It’s cheesy and gooey and filled with tasty—but simple—ingredients. A single meal dish like a casserole is a great place to start because it’s not overwhelming. It doesn’t require a bunch of prep work, and it’s easy to delegate different tasks. Kids assemble the ingredients, prep following the recipe, and bring it all together in a casserole pan. Cooking doesn’t get much more accessible than that.

From Cooking to Cleaning and Everything In Between

Kids aren’t the most coordinated. It’s important to recognize that as they learn to cook and bake, things are going to get messy. In this process, patience is a virtue. But it’s also an excellent time to help kids learn the value of keeping a kitchen clean and organized. Walk them through your food storage process (there will likely be leftovers). Show them how to properly store meals in food storage containers to minimize food waste. At the same time, guide them through the cleaning process and talk about why it’s important to keep everything clean. You can talk about topics of food safety and keeping kitchen utensils in working order. These aren’t topics you have to cover all at once, but they’re nevertheless important ones to chat about.

Keep the Momentum Moving Forward

With every casserole baked and every meal served, take time to celebrate your kids’ kitchen accomplishments. Let them know that they’ve done a good job. From there, help them build on the fundamentals. Start simple and then increase the difficulty and add new tasks as you go. If they see something online, let them explore it—even if you have a good idea of how it might turn out. It’s all a part of the learning process, and when kids get to learn on their own terms, it opens up all sorts of possibilities!

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