Cooking with kids – inspire a lifetime of healthy eating!

Cooking with kids – inspire a lifetime of healthy eating!

Cooking with kids – all ages can join in!

Cooking with kids is fun! Whether you consider yourself to be a good cook or not, most of us want our kids to learn to cook healthy food for themselves!

It’s not complicated either, there are so many ways to get kids started with cooking, be it helping wash vegetables for the very young, or mashing some potato – right through to following recipes for older children! Kids of all ages can join in with cooking and start picking up essential life skills!

At PKS we’re really keen on seeing our kids eat healthily and getting them to join in in the kitchen from an early age can foster healthy eating habits for life!

Of course, it does really help if your kids see you cooking regularly – and they’ll associate cooking with pleasurable emotions and familiarity, so they’ll be more likely to want to learn to cook themselves. If you don’t cook a lot then maybe make a special effort to cook sometimes with the kids so they can see the benefits!

Cooking with kids – what can you do at different ages? You can involve your child in cooking from a very early age – toddlers of 2 or 3 will enjoy washing vegetables and rolling dough or pastry, and as they grow and mature they can move on to chopping vegetables or weighing out ingredients!

Let’s have a closer look at cooking with kids at different ages.

Under 3s

With any young children, always be careful to remove kitchen hazards – like putting knives and pan handles out of reach, and making sure that kettles and hot liquids are safely away. For little tiny ones it might be best to give them their own workstation at a table, or you can work at the table too – this avoids some common kitchen hazards!

Activities for under 3s

Washing up – little kids love water and they’ll love it even more if they have a job to do!

Helping to mash veg – like potato or carrots!

Cutting shapes out with pastry cutters – if you’re making pastry.

Spooning ingredients into a bowl – a good exercise in coordination!

Tasting or licking the spoon!

Don’t forget, our Personalised Kids’ Cutlery is ideal for little ones to enjoy tasting the food they help to cook!

Children age 3-5

Children of this age can get stuck into activities that require a little more coordination and common sense! Plus all of the above activities of course!

Weighing out and measuring – with a little help from you!

Sieving – flour and icing sugar.

Cutting out shapes – bread and biscuits.

Mixing and stirring.

Podding peas and broad beans – and picking them too if you’ve grown them!

Shredding lettuce and cutting easy veg like cucumber with a kids’ knife.

Spreading – icing on a cake or hummus on toast!

Recipe idea for kids age 3-5 to cook – with help!

Tomato spaghetti

1 bunch fresh basil

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Spaghetti – for however many people you are serving!

Grated cheese to serve

Method

  • Finely chop the basil – kids can wash it!
  • Chop the onion and garlic.
  • Put the onion in a pan with the oil and garlic and cook it until soft.
  • Your child can help to stir in the tinned tomatoes and basil.
  • Let the pan simmer lightly while you cook the spaghetti.
  • Cook spaghetti according to the instructions and toss in oil once cooked.
  • Your child can help you to toss in the sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Ready to serve – you can always add some peas for greenery!

Remember that our Personalised Bottle Labels are great for naming kids’ bottles – so if you have a few children helping in the kitchen you’ll want to make sure their water bottles don’t get mixed up! Our Personalised Bottle Bands are great to slip onto water bottles to keep them clearly named – and they’re super easy to clean too still on the bottle!

Children age 5-8

At school age, children are getting much more dexterity and are learning to read too! They can take on more advanced tasks in the kitchen – but they’re still young and you still have to be really aware of any safety hazards! Cooking with kids of any age of course has to take into account the maturity of the child and what you think they can manage to do!

Suggestions for age 5-8

Cutting fruit and vegetables – you can let kids use a small knife or buy a special children’s knife, teaching correct technique for safety!

Grating – cheese and carrots are good things to grate! Take care that children keep their hands away from the sharp edges of the grater as they can catch and be really sore!

Peeling fruit like bananas and oranges. You can teach some children how to peel using a peeler if you think they can manage it.

Mixing and stirring ingredients in.

Starting to read recipes – for older kids in this age group.

Stirring pans – under close observation.

Peeling hard boiled eggs and cracking fresh eggs.

Laying the table!

With a bit of parent help, children aged between 5 and 8 can try making simple dishes such as scrambled eggs on toast for lunch! Of course children must be supervised at all times when using a pan.

Scrambled eggs on toast

2 eggs large

knob of butter

salt and pepper

wholemeal bread for toasting

tomatoes to serve

Method

  • Crack the eggs into a bowl.
  • Beat the eggs with a fork.
  • Heat the butter in a small pan.
  • Pour in the eggs and stir constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Put the bread on to toast.
  • Once eggs start to set, take off the heat and beat a little more.
  • Place eggs on toast and slice tomatoes to serve.
Children age 8 – 12

Cooking with kids of this age group can get much more advanced! 

They can try:

Reading recipes and following instructions.

Planning the meal including healthy food choices.

Making salads.

Heating things up on the hob and using the oven under supervision.

Looking in cupboards and finding dishes and ingredients.

Shopping with you and selection fruit and vegetables and other ingredients.

Making basic dishes – even making their own lunch!

Recipe idea for kids aged 8 – 12 – Stir fried veg with noodles and prawns

Ingredients

Any vegetables you have in the fridge – peppers, spring onion, courgette, mushrooms, tomato, cucumber

Vegetable oil/olive oil

Soy sauce

I packet dried noodles

Prawns if desired, frozen or fresh

Method

  • Chop the vegetables into even sized strips.
  • Heat the oil in the pan and throw in the vegetables, splash in some soy sauce.
  • Add prawns if using.
  • Boil noodles, drain and add to pan with the vegetables.
  • Toss into a bowl and stir around, adding extra soy sauce if desired.

There’s lots of fun in cooking with kids and you can help them develop a love of cooking that will help them cook healthy meals throughout their lives!

So many people say they can’t cook – but if you introduce your children to cooking early on by letting them help in the kitchen, they won’t be saying they can’t cook when they are older!

Cooking with children and involving them in the kitchen helps them to develop good memories of cooking too. They remember the smells, sights and tastes of home cooking and they’ll be far less likely to just stick packaged meals into the microwave as adults! They can learn the skills so they feel confident in cooking for themselves and for others too!

If you’d like some more recipe ideas for cooking with kids, try the BBC website!

Don’t forget that our award winning Personalised toddler cutlery is fantastic for younger kids to try new foods with! Have a look in our shop and our Etsy pages for this and also for our award winning baby led weaning spoons for babies from 6 months.  Babies will love to watch the cooking and join in when they are able to too!

Happy cooking with kids!

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