Get Your Kids in the Kitchen

Get Your Kids in the Kitchen

And Cook Up a Healthier, Happier Family

We live in a fast paced world filled with drive-thru windows and online ordering at the touch of a button. While convenience is, well, convenient, it can rob our kids and our families of healthy time together. Somehow ordering a quick meal doesn’t mean we have more time as a family. It means we are in a hurry to get somewhere else and need to eat with our sodas balanced between our knees as our teen practices her driving. It’s time to step back into the kitchen with our kids and follow a good recipe for healthy families. It’s not just about the food – it’s the time, energy, and lessons that we share.

From Mud Pies to Manicotti – Kids of All Ages Can Cook

Pots, pans, and wooden spoons seem to be favorite toys for many toddlers – maybe because they can make lots of noise with them, or maybe because they know that there is something magical about mixing and stirring to create a delicious masterpiece. Whatever the reasons, cooking in the kitchen with kids of all ages is a great activity with numerous benefits.

  • Children can develop healthier eating habits by learning to prepare meals with real ingredients, instead of learning to zap something in the microwave.
  • Cooking with kids gives parents the opportunity to meet two important needs: preparing a meal for the family and spending quality time with their kids.
  • There are lessons in math, science, health, reading, and more waiting in the kitchen. Kids can learn to measure, calculate, read labels, understand chemical reactions of ingredients, and gain an appreciation for an important life skill.
  • Home economics isn’t just for high school. When kids learn to help shop for ingredients, calculate serving sizes, and adjust recipes as needed they are developing a necessary skill for their future.
  • Kids can use their imagination and creativity in the kitchen, with everything from designing place settings to coming up with their own recipes.

Fun Ways to Cook with Kids

  • Give them free roam in the kitchen and encourage them to make their own recipes. This might mean a sticky mess of flour, water, and pickles, but it is a step up from mud pies!
  • Let your kids plan the menu for a family meal. Older kids can either take turns each night or work together to come up with a 3 or 4 course meal.
  • Invest in some plain aprons and have your kids decorate them with fabric paint.
  • Shop with your kids and show them how to read labels and select ingredients.
  • Check out kid friendly recipe books from the library. These usually have great pictures to help those visual learners.
  • Have a theme night – Italian, Chinese, or maybe Mexican cuisine. Talk about the origins of food and how food is related to culture.
  • Let the kids decorate the table, coming up with centerpieces or decorating plain table runners.
  • Give each child a placemat to decorate. This can be as simple as having them color a picture and laminating it, or you can purchase plain placemats that they can decorate. Older kids can even make cloth napkins.
  • Let your kids choose some music to play as you cook together – it can help set a fun mood for everyone.
  • Plan a special night where your kids invite neighbors, friends, or extended family over for a meal they help prepare. Older kids might be more inclined to learn new cooking skills if they have a friend to share in the fun. Our oldest once invited her friend over so they could attempt together how to make crepes. They had a great time and we enjoyed a wonderful dessert.

Back to Basics

If you’re a parent – life is busy. Your family needs time together and your children need to eat. Bring your lifestyle back to the basics by sharing in some fun family time in the kitchen. Working together to prepare meals is a great way to relax at the end of the day, while still meeting family needs. Even if it is just one night a week where you work together to share a meal, it can help your kids develop a stronger sense of family and enable them to survive on more than PB&J and drive-thru meals.

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  1. I remember my mother always asking us to help in the kitchen and now I love to cook and experiment with food. Such a great lesson to learn while you are young… especially in our day and age where most of my friends don’t know how to cook for themselves and are reliant on unhealthy frozen meals or eating out.


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