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Get inspired with these fun, healthy and easy recipes to cook with kids! You’ll also find important tips and ideas for cooking activities. Enjoy the rewarding experience in the kitchen with your children.
Cooking is a life skill. As a mom of two children ages 11 and 13, I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my kids. I have my own mother to thank for when comes to teaching me the skill that enables me to do what I love today. She has taught me that the kitchen is the best place to cultivate relationships, values, and healthy eating habits.
To share this love with all the parents out there, I’ve rounded up a collection of easy recipes to cook with kids. You’ll find recipes that cater to various age groups and skills. I also included some important tips and activity suggestions for you to get started. If you haven’t cooked with your kids before, this is a good time to start!
How Do You Cook with Kids? Top 10 Tips For Parents
1. Start with easy recipes that they love to eat.
Once they develop interest and taste, you can introduce new flavors and more challenging recipes.
2. Choose the right time.
Like any things with kids, especially with toddlers, timing is key. There are times they prefer to run around instead of helping you out in the kitchen. Pick a day when you are not in a hurry, and your child is in the right mood.
3. Focus on the exposure, not the outcome.
Especially if your kids are younger or not into food.
4. Assign suitable tasks.
Keep in mind that they don’t have to be involved in every step of the cooking. If you have a 3-year-old and an 8-year-old, they can both work on different tasks you give them.
5. It’s ok when things get messy.
Teach them the habit of cleaning up. Give them some easy cleanup tasks. You don’t want them to feel overly pressured and lose interest.
6. Incorporate learnings.
Teach them math, culture, ingredients, language, entrepreneurship and the science behind cooking (what steam does, how electricity works, etc). Incorporate his or her favorite games or songs or cartoon characters into the recipe. Give it a catchy name to the cooking project! Be creative, and you’d find cooking with kids are the best hands-on learning activity.
7. Safety first.
Teach them how to curl their fingers if using a knife. Remind them to keep a distance from the heat source. Monitor them if you let them cook over the stovetop.
8. Be patient and don’t force it.
If your child doesn’t show any enthusiasm, don’t force it but don’t give up completely. A child goes through different development stages. He/she may be happily cracking the eggs when you revisit the activity again.
9. Engage their senses.
Have them taste the seasonings, touch the fresh vegetables, smell the spices, and listen to the sizzles of the hot pan.
10. Above all, enjoy the special time and experience with your children.
Before you know it, your budding young chefs would be whipping up some delicious lunch for the whole family!
18 Easy Recipes to Cook with Kids
No kids will say no to these colorful sweet treats. You can use pre-made or homemade sponge cakes, granolas, fresh whipped cream, fruits, and ice cream or Greek yogurt. It’s a great recipe to teach the kids colors and composition. Let them choose their favorite toppings and have fun!
2. Steamed Cake
These Japanese steamed cakes are another favorite to make with kids! They are not overly sweet and can be enjoyed a healthy breakfast or afternoon snack. Sweet or savory – choose how you’d like to flavor it. The children can help to mix and whisk and pour. Finish up by showing them how steaming works. Or have a role-play afternoon tea party.
Homemade Granola is healthy, simple, flexible and fun. Make a big batch, so the whole family could have it for breakfast or snack throughout the week.
To make the learning more interesting, you can have the kids design some cool boxes, pack the granola and name the finished products! Have a mini Shark Tank at home to see who does the best pitch. You can really elaborate on the idea!
A yummy frozen dessert made of chocolate-covered banana sprinkled with almonds. Imagine all the fun of dipping bananas into melted chocolate! You’d get the biggest, cutest grins once they are ready to eat.
A popular street snack in Japan, Taiyaki is a warm fish-shaped cake with red bean filling. Kids and adults literally go crazy about it. To make Taiyaki at home, you do need a special maker but it’s worth getting one! You can buy it from Amazon at a reasonable price. Once the kids try it, they will be begging you to make it over and over again.
To encourage imaginative play, how about staging a day of Japanese Street Festival at home? Have the kids perform taiko drums, parade and enjoy Taiyaki!
With frozen puff pastry, this buttery apple tart cannot be any easier! If you want to teach your kids the basic fruit-slicing technique, this is a good recipe to start. They also get to learn how to layer the apple slices neatly over the pastry. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream on the side.
When enjoying the tart, you can read books about apples and talk about other yummy foods you can make with apples.
For those with small children as young as 2.5-year-old, these butter Cookies are the simplest cookies to get them started in baking. Use different cookie cutters to make various fun shapes.
Smoothie is another popular recipe to make with kids. It’s easy and makes a healthy snack.
Do you have Family Movie Time at home? It is a ritual that we all enjoy, especially on a Friday night. Before you start the screen, you can make popcorn together. It is one of the easiest snacks to make with kids. There’s something exciting about making popcorn over the stovetop and watch them pop! Take the opportunity to explain how heat works.
10. Fruit Popsicles
To make the popsicles, it is as simple as cutting up fresh fruits and arranging them in the popsicle mold. There are also plenty of games you can do with popsicles, such as Name the Popsicle contest, word game that starts with ‘P’ or ‘Pop’, or write haiku on the popsicle sticks.
Teriyaki chicken and melted Mexican cheese make a delicious fusion combo in the quesadilla. My son loves this dish very much, and he is always happy to help me out with the preparation of vegetables and plating.
Kids are naturally drawn to colorful dishes. That’s why this potato salad is such a favorite among Japanese kids. Even the younger ones would enjoy mashing the potatoes and mixing the vegetables.
You could introduce alphabets and songs about vegetables while making the dish together.
13. Gyoza Wrappers
All you need is salt, water, and flour to make gyoza wrappers at home. It’s a great recipe to make with older kids. You can either follow the written recipe or watch the cooking video for visual instructions. And enjoy the fun process!
After making homemade gyoza wrappers, you can proceed with making the actual gyoza. Kids are naturally competitive, if they have siblings or good friends over, group them into teams and have gyoza-making competition. You can judge the winning team by speed, skill, and cooperation. Maybe put on a Master Chef Junior at home?
15. Sushi Rolls
When making sushi with kids, sushi rolls are the easiest to start with. For the fillings, work with kid-friendly ingredients such as avocado, cucumber, ham, egg, and pre-made tempura.
For a matching game, we highly recommend this popular Sushi Go Card Game.
Udon noodle is one of the easiest noodles to make at home. It requires 3 ingredients: flour, water, and salt. The methods are very straightforward, but the fun part is kneading with your feet. Yes! Your kids will get a kick out of this. It’s also a great recipe to learn math.
This kids-favorite recipe teaches a few basic yet important cooking skills such as how to boil eggs and assembly a sandwich. Cut them into mini sandwiches to make it more appealing to kids. They can also help packing the sandwich into the bento box for a picnic lunch.
Onigiri is all about creativity, colors, and shapes! If you wish to simplify the process, you can use any leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. You can show them my video on how to make the rice balls. Once they learn the tips, let them indulge in their imagination. Make extra cute shapes with decorations like smiley faces or Totoro-inspired design.
Do you have any favorite recipes that you love cooking with your kids? Any advice you’d love to share?
There are so many more benefits when you cook with your kids. I wish you good luck & have fun cooking together!