Easy Cooking with Kids

When you read this title you probably think, is there such a thing? And honestly, it is always a little more challenging to get our kids involved with the baking and/or cooking. Extra sets of little fast-moving hands that are very excited and want to help so bad they can’t slow down and see things right. Bless their sweet, helpful little hearts. I promise that it is worth the time and love that it takes to work with them.

So, to help alleviate some of the stress that comes with cooking or baking with kids, here is how we as a family accomplish team work in the kitchen. The following steps make for easy cooking with kids. Sometimes I have both kids help and sometimes only one helps.

Pick out the recipe you want to use

I always pick a recipe that I know the kids can and want to pitch in on. Until recently, anything where there was a lot to cut up as far as vegetables or preparing of raw meat, I have always done by myself because they haven’t been old enough to be handling either.

Of course, their favorite recipes to help with are baking recipes, because they get to taste the yummy cookie batter or steal a chocolate chip (thinking they are sneaky even though you can see a little trail of chocolate leading to their mouths)! Both have started getting more involved in the preparation of cooked meals as well. They love the cooking recipes, so they can grab fresh vegetables while we are getting ready.

Recipes that I have cooked or baked before that have been a hit and I am very familiar with are much easier to give jobs to for helpers.If it is a baking recipe, I still need the recipe (since baking is more of a science and you can only be creative in some ways or it won’t bake properly).I put out my recipe holder, to lock the recipe in place, so nothing gets spilled on it and everyone can read it together. Plus, if it is sitting up then I don’t have a bunch of eager hands trying to grab it at the same time.

Why is it important for kids to learn while they are young?

First, how many of your little kids look at you with those big eyes and ask to help? Kids automatically want to help and be part of what you are doing. Take advantage of that! Teach them while they are young and have the desire, so they have it in their heads that it is fun and exciting to be creative in the kitchen.

Second, we need to work harder to teach our younger generations that eating healthy needs to be part of their daily routine. Eating healthier is a habit and you want to learn those healthy eating habits early. Food that is healthy can still be delicious and amazing.

Third, as I have said in other posts, this is a fun and engaging way of spending some time with your kids. I tried out new cake recipes with my daughter this summer, the first couple we baked, they were good but not perfect. We worked together and learned from what we did.

Pick jobs for each set of little hands

For this example, we are making cookies! I give a job to each kid in order of what needs to be done (back to our order of operations), measure out the dry ingredients in one bowl and then gather all the wet ingredients in a second bowl. One gets to measure out the flour and the other does the sugar. When we crack eggs, EVERYONE wants to be part of that, so I always make sure that they get to both have eggs to crack. Since you are dealing with kids that are not necessarily smooth at cracking eggs, it is smartest to have them crack the egg over a bowl or cup so that you can easily fish out the renegade egg shells that land in there.

Remind of sanitary procedures constantly before during and after

I am one of those types of people that if I see a hair or something in my food, I can’t eat it. Even if I made it myself! I know that not everyone feels this strongly, so these rules below are for my kitchen and I am not saying that you must do them, but I am going to show you what I am teaching my kids to keep everything as sanitary as possible.

  • Hair always back in a pony tail (girls)
  • Aprons on – I don’t always wear one while cooking by myself however it’s a fun thing for the kids, they feel important
  • Clean area with good cleaner so your work surface can be used
  • Scrub hands with soap
  • Grab all the ingredients we are going to use in order of what is on the ingredient list
  • Clean up as you go! Makes final clean up so much easier!

Someone is always going to have an itch on the face at some point, they can itch it but need to wash their hands right after before touching anything else!!

Another thing that help to make easy cooking with kids!

Make sure that you remind the kids that their opinion matters! Their help makes the food so much tastier and delicious. The best way to get them involved is test along the way.

You should always taste your food during your creative process (aside from the raw meats and too much cookie dough of course!) Tasting as you cook is the best way to make a recipe delicious, so when you taste the food make sure that you use a clean spoon or fork for each taste test.

Make sure use your family, especially the kids, as testers as well! Get the most honest feedback from their faces when they taste the food! Then you can ask them, does it need more of something. When they have say in how the food tastes they are more inclined to eat it!

14 thoughts on “Easy Cooking with Kids”

  1. Actually cleaning area with a good cleaner is really important however I want my little cousin to do it by himself. Can you recommend a cleaner which he can use?

    1. Good question! I have my kids use Lysol disinfecting wipes, because they are easy for little hands to use, they have minimal chemicals and are disinfecting as well. (Always make them wash their hands after) Or I let them use Fabuloso! and paper towels. Never bleach or any harsh chemicals. When cleaning my counters, I personally prefer paper towels to a sponge or cotton towel because I believe that sponges can harbor a lot of bacteria that is going right back on my counter. I hope that your little cousin has fun using the Lysol wipes, my kids do! Thanks for visiting the site!

  2. Cooking with small children can be a challenge, but it is extremely rewarding! I found that my kids were more open to eating things they usually did not want if they helped in the cooking. One of my girls would not eat onions. She would fuss when she saw them in the food and remove them to a napkin. Once she started helping to sautee them, she started eating them!!!!! Thanks for this excellent post!

    1. Yes exactly! I like having them taste the ingredient (if it makes sense, of course haha) before and after. Getting all of their five senses involved makes the experience so much better! When you think about it raw onions look so much different than cooked ones for sure! Thank you for visiting my site! I hope you return more as I starting adding more recipes!

  3. Hey, Elizabeth!

    Loved the article. Adding some little helpers to cooking definitely is fun, but messy. I truly liked the philosophy of reminding kids that their opinion matters, I think it’s so important. Not just in cooking, but in life in general. They just grow up to be better and more self-confident people that way.

    And I totally agree that, if you do not embrace and encourage helping in kitchen, you might find yourself years later to be the only cook in the house. Furthermore, then somewhat grown up kids will find eating processed food that does not require any effort to make way more appealing. But that, however, won’t be what’s best for their health.

    Thank you for the awesome article!
    Cheers and have a Great One!
    Matiss

    1. Yes! Exactly my thoughts! This summer my kids each had friends over and I had them make homemade pizza bagels. I got all the ingredients and laid them out on the table and they each got to decorate their own pizzas. They had a blast! Very simple for all of us and they were still talking about it a couple hours later. They felt involved and special because they got to make their own food. I am glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for visiting!

  4. I like the idea of showing my children how to cook in a young age. I have a question, at what age would you recommend a parent to start to cook with their children?

    1. I started my son when he was two. He had his own mixing spoon and bowl with a little of his own mixture right next to me on the counter. He loved it! I would show him the ingredient and tell him what it was and we would walk through it together. I also had him pour in the the ingredients for me, no eggs at that age though LOL. My step-daughter is 10, but I have been working with her on baking for about a year and she loves it! So, no age is too old to start! But just like anything else, the younger you can start the teaching the better. Thank you for visiting and great question!

  5. Hey! I love the content of this post as my little six year old is a fireball of energy and always wants to help his Mama Bear in the kitchen but I am reluctant to let him get in on the cooking action with me as I always think it will end up in a kind of tornado in my kitchen, but the way you have outlined the approach to involving your kids in the cooking has inspired me to give it a go! I love that you are empowering your children to learn self responsibility and life skills as well as including them in the opinion aspect of the result of the cooking. Cracking eggs in a separate bowl is a great tip – even as an adult I still get the “renegade” shell action so that part really made me smile. Thanks for these great tips – they have proved very useful for me and I look forward to more to come!

    1. Yes, my kids are little fireballs of energy as well so I completely understand where you are coming from LOL! That is why it is important to be ready and have planned out before you set them “loose” in the kitchen. I call it organized chaos! Thank you for the post, let me know how it goes if you decide to take a run at with your little bear!

  6. My kids are all grown up now but we always cooked and had a great time in the kitchen. Spending time together preparing food in a healthy, fun, engaging way is so important to foster good eating habits in our kids. I sure enjoyed your article! It brought back good memories. Thanks you

  7. AWWWW, this post made me miss being around my family (I have no family here, since I moved out of state) but this is a great thing to do with friends and their kids as well, so maybe I won’t be eating alone again this year! Thanks for the awesome ideas!

    1. Hello Aria! I am sorry to hear that, that is a hard thing to deal with. I am really glad that you came to visit my site! Yes, grab a bunch of your friends and have everyone pitch it, makes it way more fun! Thank you again for stopping by and I hope you will enjoy all the recipes that I have and there are so many more on the way 🙂

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