Cookbook:Cooking for Children

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Cookbook | Ingredients | Special diets

Food for children[edit | edit source]

Cooking with children[edit | edit source]

Cooking is fun and teaches teamwork in the household. It is a great way for parents and children to share a meaningful experience, and it helps children develop motor skills and practice skills like reading and math. It can also increase the awareness and popularity of nutritious foods like whole grains and vegetables and show that good food is fun and tasty.

Safety[edit | edit source]

Children, especially younger children, should be supervised in the kitchen. Set and clearly communicate rules in advance, such as establishing things they can and cannot touch, as well as explaining which tasks are for kids and which are for adults. Be sure to explain the reasons for these rules in terms they can understand.

Trustworthy children can begin using knives once they have the necessary motor coordination and responsibility—the exact age will depend on the child in question. Start out with a small safety knife and soft foods like mushrooms, strawberries, cheese, etc. Teach them how to position their hands to keep their fingers out of the way of the blade. Once they are comfortable with the basics, you can gradually move up to larger, sharper knives and harder foods.

Timing[edit | edit source]

Make sure to pick an appropriate time to cook with children. There should be little time pressure, and the supervising adult should not be distracted or occupied with other tasks. Be sure to also pick a time when the children are rested and not stressed out. Having more than one adult around can be helpful.

Planning[edit | edit source]

Try to involve kids of all ages in the meal planning process—this will usually get them more excited about cooking. Younger kids may have a harder time thinking of ideas, so try giving them a few options and letting them pick their favorites. Older kids may be interested in both choosing and cooking dinner once or twice a week.

Age-appropriate tasks[edit | edit source]

Simple tasks for young children (3–6 years) include pouring ingredients into a bowl, gentle stirring, tearing up leaves, shaking things in a container, and more. Slightly older children (6–8 years) can start learning how to crack eggs and measure ingredients on their own, and they may even be able to start very basic knife skills or help with using more complicated kitchen equipment like mixers and food processors. Starting at 8 years old and depending on their maturity, children can often move on to more complicated skills, using the oven and stove, and start working more independently in the kitchen.

Teach children to measure ingredients out into separate bowls so that one mistake won't mess up the whole dish. Ask children of all ages to taste the dish in progress and give their feedback—it's important to make them feel like their opinions matter, and it will give you a better sense of what they enjoy.

Consider using cooking as a way to practice a variety of skills. Very young children can help you count ingredients. Children learning to read can read out ingredients and directions from a recipe, and those learning math can practice by scaling recipes up or down.

Positive feedback[edit | edit source]

When cooking with children, make sure to give them positive feedback as encouragement. Avoid getting angry at them if any mistakes happen—instead, be patient and calmly offer them guidance.

Recipes[edit | edit source]

For recipes that are designed for children to make and/or eat, see Category:Kid-friendly recipes or browse below:

External links[edit | edit source]