Cooking with Kids
For kids up to age four:
- Let them help assemble simple dinner items—it’s fun to sprinkle cheese on lasagna, pizza or quesadillas before they go into the oven, or tear lettuce for salads or wash potatoes or carrots.
- Kids are good at stirring items in a bowl or pitcher, such as punch, lemonade, salads and loose batters. Younger children often have fun just stirring together dry beans and uncooked rice of different colors.
For kids ages four to eight:
- Place a variety of toppings in tin muffin pans and let kids top their own salads, soups, nachos, pizzas, pastas and cookies.
- Give kids fun jobs like shucking corn, mashing avocados, peeling and slicing bananas with a plastic knife, snapping beans, etc.
- Eggs are a favorite—fun to crack, easy to stir, quick to cook. (Make sure children wash their hands after handling eggs to prevent cross-contamination.)
- Measuring is a safe and fun activity that can really help with math and counting skills. It’s even more fun when you use colorful measuring cups and spoons!
- Rolling, spreading, pouring and peeling are all techniques that younger chefs can practice.
- Kids like it when adults sauté and flip things in a skillet. Give them an eight-inch skillet and let them try flipping dried beans or a slice of bread in it. They can do this at a table or counter so they don’t have to be anywhere near the hot stove.
For kids ages eight to 12:
- Simple soups and casseroles are great for budding chefs to “go solo” on.
- Cooking contests are all the rage on TV. Create simple contests for older kids by supplying basic ingredients in a brown bag and letting them develop their own recipe!