Food for Thought Blog

5 Tips to Get Kids In the Kitchen

July 21st, 2021Food, Youth

Did you know that 57% of kids who cooked with their parents growing-up, enjoy cooking more as an adult1?

Involving kids in the kitchen at a young age can help build confidence and support a wide range of developmental and life skills, such as:

  • Language skills – which help with writing lists and reading recipe instructions.
  • Math skills – which help with measuring ingredients and doubling a recipe.
  • Sharing family cooking traditions or cultural recipes.
  • Motor skills – which help with stirring, chopping, pouring, and scooping.
  • Quality time with family members.
  • Sharing and collaboration with others.

Here are some fun ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen and helping to prepare your next meal.

Tips to Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen

1. Age-Appropriate Tasks

Children can be involved in the kitchen as early as two years of old. Try starting with simple tasks and slowly introduce more complicated ones as they become more confident.

For example, skill progression in the kitchen may look like the following: washing fruit > pouring flour into a bowl > slicing soft foods with a plastic knife > using a can opener > preparing a simple meal for their family.

2. Be Prepared for a Mess

Sometimes learning to cook can be a little messy. Be prepared by having a damp cloth or towel handy. Also, don’t forget to involve children in the cleanup process. Younger kids can help wipe the counter. Older children can wash dishes or sweep the floor.

3. Make it a learning opportunity

Cooking is not always just about preparing food. Many learning opportunities can go along with it. For example, take children to a strawberry patch to pick strawberries and learn about the growing process. It’s a fun way for them to learn about the environment and how food makes it to their plate.

4. Create a new recipe

Try engaging children’s creative side and help them explore new foods in the kitchen by allowing them to create a new recipe. For example, you could allow them to select which fruit they would like in a smoothie. Or have them assemble a pizza with toppings of their choosing.

5. Allow Kids to Try Food at Their Own Pace

Involving kids in the kitchen is a great way to raise an adventurous eater and help prevent picky eating. It can take time, though. Children often need multiple exposures to a food before they feel comfortable trying it. If this is the case, don’t get discouraged. Instead, continue to create a positive eating environment by allowing kids to try new foods at their own pace and involve them in the cooking process.

Looking for some new recipes to try next time you are in the kitchen? Check out thefoodbank.ca/food for some delicious ideas.


References

[1] Sobeys Inc. (2014) Cooking Skills Gap: Millennials Lack Confidence in the Kitchen. Sobeys Corporate. https://corporate.sobeys.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Cooking_Skills_Gap-Millenials_Lack_Confidence_in_the_Kitchen.pdf