Kids in the Kitchen: 11 Tips for Cooking with Kids

Photo By Amanda

Yesterday, I told you about the Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual cookbook I found for cooking with my son. I thought I could also share with you a few tips I’ve learned from our cooking times together.

Here are a few things I think make our kitchen time run more smoothly:

  1. Discuss safety issues – Make sure your child understands safety issues, such as knife and other sharp utensils safety, as well as oven and stovetop safety.
  2. Use plastic or stainless containers instead of glass – If the containers get knocked over, you may have a mess, but at least there will be no broken glass, which could be a safety hazard, especially when working with younger children.
  3. Have everything out and ready before you start – I find it much easier to go ahead and get all my ingredients laid out on the counter and ready to go before I bring my son into the kitchen.
  4. Make foods visually appealing – Kids love to create fun foods. They are also much more likely to eat them if they think the foods are fun to look at.
  5. Start with simple recipes – You don’t want to start out baking homemade bread or preparing a half-day meal when kids are involved. Most kids have a short attention span and the less involved your recipe the easier it will be on you and your child.
  6. Plan for clean up time and let kids help – The kitchen is going to be a bigger mess when kids are helping you cook. It’s important for them to learn cleaning is a part of the cooking process. Cooking is fun but with it comes clean up responsibilities also.
  7. Get them their own apron and/or chef’s hat – As you can see from the above picture, my son has his own little apron and chef’s hat. We call him Chef David and he loves it.
  8. Compliment your child’s progress – Even if things don’t turn out the way you planned, it’s okay. Remember, this is a learning experience for your child, and it’s suppose to be fun most of all.
  9. Don’t try to cook when the kids are hungry – Believe me, I’ve tried this and it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  10. Be patient – It’s going to take longer with kids in the kitchen, so be sure to allow plenty of time and be patient with your child as you proceed through each step of the recipe.
  11. Have fun – If you can’t have fun, you might as well get out of the kitchen.

As I promised yesterday, here is a picture of one of the other recipes my son and I tried from the Kids Cooking recipe book.

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These are called Disgustingly Rich Brownies, and believe me, they were nothing less than disgustingly delicious.

This post is linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

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Posted on May 19th, 2009 in Kids and Family | 6 Comments
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  • This article brings back memories.

    I remember cooking with my mother; she had me reading her the recipe steps, scooping out flour and stirring in chocolate chips; what a great way to learn not only how to cook in general, but also how to follow directions, what T and t mean, etc., and how to measure ingredients properly. Even at 4 and 5 yrs old, those are lessons that continue to serve me well.

    Loving this series!

  • turnitupmom says:

    There should be a warning not to read this post if you’re hungry! Oh, those brownies look decadent! Your last tip is my favorite HAVE FUN! I can’t wait to do this in a few years 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Oh, I was getting this picture on here about midnight last night and wishing I had one. They were really good and chocolately – just the way I like ’em.

  • Ah, our 4 year old is getting very interested in the kitchen. He loves to help and I’m learning more and more that I’m not the super-patient mama I’d hoped I would be! It’s a learning process though and I love his passion for it.

    Great post, I’ll be sure to do this with him more often 🙂

    Angie @ The Creative Mama’s last blog post..The friendship-details.

    • Amanda says:

      I think we all have times when our patience levels are just not where we want them to be. I have learned to make sure I allot plenty of time when my son is going to help me in the kitchen. This way I don’t feel pressured by time, and in turn, there’s less reason for impatience to attacks.

  • Hi,
    I teach cooking classes to children and think your list of tips is fantastic! The have fun part is key, especially when parents can get caught up in the potential mess… Thanks for encouraging more families to cook with their kids!

    Michelle at What’s Cooking Blog’s last blog post..Our 2009 Great American Bake Sale Update

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