So far in this “teaching life skills” series, we’ve explored different styles of chore charts and why chores are important for young children. Then, I shared my system for teaching my children to do their own laundry.
This time, let’s explore getting your kids in the kitchen. Getting your kids in the kitchen is a great way to spend time with them. It’s a great time to sneak in some learning as well as foster some independence.
Who knew all that was possible with just one little chore?
Kids in the Kitchen
Why Teach Kids to Cook
In all honesty, I teach my kids to cook so I don’t have to do it myself. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love cooking and baking for my family. But, every now and then, I love to turn dinner duty over to my kids. Now that my youngest is 11, I rarely cook lunch anymore.
Not only does getting my kiddos in the kitchen help me out quite a bit, it also provides an opportunity to put some school lessons in a real-life scenario.
Doubling or tripling recipes helps build math skills like addition, multiplication, and fractions. You can boost reading skills by having your child read recipes. Reading labels and gathering ingredients also gives them a little extra reading practice.
While my tween can use my regular-sized kitchen tools, little ones may be more successful with mini tools. Often times, you can find small whisks and measuring cups in Target’s Dollar Spot. Melissa and Doug has a great child-sized utensil set that is safe for food use. Here’s a fun mini-baking kit for your budding chef.
Young children can help in the kitchen if you, the parent, will do a little prep work ahead of time. If your little one isn’t ready for measuring, you can go ahead and measure wet and dry ingredients for them. Put each ingredient in its own bowl or cup. Your child can then pour each ingredient into the mixing bowl to be mixed.
If they are old enough to measure, they may still need help gathering the ingredients. When Em was younger, I gathered all of the ingredients and placed the containers on the kitchen table so everything was in reach.
When Emma was old enough to gather the ingredients and measure them out on her own, I walked her through an easy recipe, allowing her to do the bulk of the work on her own. I had her make the same recipe on her own several times. Each time, I would give her control of one more thing until finally she could make it from beginning to end without me being in the room.
At 11, Emma can do quite a bit on her own. Now that summer is just around the corner, I’m making a list of recipes I want to teach her to take over. At this time, she can make the following without any assistance:
- Ramen noodles
- Eggs and toast
- Macaroni and cheese
- Chocolate chip cookies
- French toast
- Grilled cheese
- Various Chex Mix snacks
- Canned biscuits/cinnamon rolls
Here’s a peek at the list I’m compiling for the summer. As Emma masters a recipe and can make it on her own, I will add it to a binder for her. I would love for her to have a cookbook of her very own like this one.
- Better Homes and Gardens NEW Junior Cookbook
- Kids Fun and Healthy Cookbook
- The Cookbook for Kids
- The Disney Princess Cookbook
- Betty Crocker: Kids Cook!
- The Cookbook for Girls
- Children’s Quick and Easy Cookbook
- Mom and Me Cookbook
Do your kids enjoy being in the kitchen with you? What do they like to cook?