The kitchen is fascinating place for children. Pots on the stove, yummy smells and their parents all create memories. The science of how cakes rise, cookies bake and dinners come together. Cooking with children motivates and empowers them to develop healthy eating habits through hands-on learning with fresh, affordable foods that build family traditions. All while practicing reading and math in an everyday activity.
Young children love to be part of the hustle and bustle in the kitchen let them help out with small tasks, like stirring something or setting the table. School age kids can be taught how to crack eggs, measure ingredients. Give teens their own night to cook, tell them they can choose the dish and you'll help prepare it with them.
There are countless benefits to this time together and some wonderful cookbooks!
Preschoolers need a time when they're well-rested so they do not become easily frustrated. Your little ones get hands-on experience, which is a great way to learn and feel like they are helping out.
- Sesame Street “C” is for Cooking, 40th Anniversary Edition by Susan McQuillan M.S. R.D. and Sesame Workshop.
- Cooking Art: Easy Edible Art for Young Children by MaryAnn F. Kohl, Jean Potter, and Ronni Roseman-Hall
School-age kids can learn some cooking basics and use their math skills as they help combine ingredients for recipes. You also can use the time to talk about good nutrition and why you chose the ingredients you're using. It can lay the groundwork for healthy eating later on.
- The Everything Kids’ Cookbook: From mac’n cheese to double chocolate chip cookies- 90 recipes to have some finger-lickin’ fun by Sandra K. Nissenberg
- New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking) by Jennifer Darling
Teens might appreciate the chance to improve their cooking skills — good preparation for when they'll need to cook for themselves. Teens also might be interested in trying different cuisines. Do they love Asian food? Visit an Asian market and put together something authentic.
- Cooking Up a Storm: The Teen Survival Cookbook by Sam Stern and Susan Stern
- Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids by Rachael Ray
Parents get something out of this kitchen togetherness, too. First, there's the quality time you'll share. Your family will have the nightly pleasure of standing side by side cooking, defining your family priorities, values, traditions. Then sitting down at the table together to enjoy what you've whipped up, you create emotional support just being there conveying the genuine belief in your child and communicating freely.