3 Reasons You Should
Cook with Kids…
Ready to teach cooking skills to your children, but not sure the benefits outweigh the struggle? Check out my top 3 reasons to cook with kids. Plus, get simple tips on how to make the transition an easy one!
- To Teach Math Skills
This! Math doesn’t always have to be taught in a brick and mortar fashion. Introducing cooking into your homeschool math lessons is such a simple way to bring math into the real world.
Focus on teaching measurements & fractions during the cooking process and you might just be surprised at how quickly things click!
- To Give Mom a Break
YES! Once your kids get a little older and more confident in the kitchen, let them take charge of meals once or twice a week. Not only does this help them practice their kitchen skills (and a little independence), but it also allows mom to place her focus elsewhere or possibly even take a small breather.
Sounds delightful, right?
If your kid are younger, let them focus on simple tasks like getting getting breakfast together for themselves and siblings by setting out bowls, cereal, and milk. Tasks like this can help them feel accomplished and helpful!
If your kids are older, encourage them to put together a full lunch or dinner 1-2 times each week! This encourages responsibility and productivity.
To Prepare Them for Adulthood
Preparing your children for adulthood is the #1 reason you should cook with kids in the kitchen!
By teaching simple cooking skills during schooling years, your kids will be more prepared for life after homeschooling. Having basic kitchen knowledge & the ability to cook meals on their own is an essential skill in my book.
Cooking With Kids
Ready to cook with kids? Teach cooking in the home with these 5 simple steps!
1) Introduce Simple Kitchen Tasks
If you’re afraid to jump in head first, start off small by introducing simple (non cooking) tasks to children at a young age.
First, encourage children to help mom in the kitchen by grabbing ingredients out of the pantry or fridge.
Second, instruct children through simple tasks such as getting pre-packaged snacks for siblings and pouring things into bowls.
Last, move on to simple snack and meal making such as homemade trail mixes and peanut butter sandwiches!
Less steps = Less mess
2) Encourage Proper Clean Up & Safety Methods
Before attempting to conquer larger tasks or mutli-step recipes in the kitchen with your kids, try introducing proper clean up procedures and discussing safety methods first!
Start with simple recipes that you can cook with your child. During the cooking process, teach your child how to clean up along the way by discarding wrappers, skins, and placing measuring devices in the sink.
Also spend some time discussing safety tips and demonstrating the proper use of specific kitchen tools, such as knives, graters, and peelers.
Check out our favorite resource for teaching safety in the kitchen.
The Good and the Beautiful Safety Unit (lesson 6)
3) Utilize Pre-Packaged Foods as a Starting Point
For a simple first cooking experience for your child, try using a pre-packaged meal or baking mix instead of a traditional recipe card that may involve more difficult steps such as chopping.
This simply allows your child to focus on the simple process of following steps instead of being overwhelmed by the recipe as a whole.
If using pre-packaged food isn’t your style, try a super simple 2-3 step recipe or adapt a more detailed recipe by prepping chopped ingredients ahead of time and allowing your child to simply put the ingredients together.
I opted for a simple box of macaroni and cheese as my son’s first cooking experience, but did a simple oven nachos as my daughter’s – both options were a great first cooking experience!
4) Teach Terms & Prepping Steps
Once you are ready to dive deeper into cooking with kids – teaching proper terms and techniques will be a must!
When your child is ready for multi-step recipes that involve the use of kitchen tools, fresh ingredients that need chopping, or lots of measurements – simply start off by teaching them proper prepping steps!
Measuring, chopping, and setting aside ingredients till they are needed, will help keep the process simple and stress free!
Also spend time teaching them terms (such as whisking, simmering, and browning) as they go along.
5) Encourage Creativity and Flexibility
The finish line, finally!
Now that your child has mastered simple recipes by following step by step instructions, it’s time to encourage a little creativity in the kitchen!
Spend some time experimenting with your child at first by giving them options to mix up ingredients or make fun additions. Simple starters would be things like trying a different type of cheese in place of the kind mentioned in a recipe or simple additions such as adding herbs and spices to existing recipes.
Once your child is ready to move on and get creative on their own, let them – it’s the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t!
Also discuss simple replacement options when a specific ingredient may not be available.
Teaching cooking doesn’t have to be stressful. Check out these simple ingredient replacement options to discuss when cooking with kids!
Teach Cooking Success
While cooking with kids can be a mixture of fun, mess, and stress – it’s also an essential life skill!
Cook with kids for an easier transition into adulthood.
Covering these simple areas are a must for older children, but can easily be introduced when a child is young as well.
When cooking with older kids, especially teenagers, make sure to include the following 3 things in your homeschool cooking lessons!
- Menu Making & List Creating
Keep it light and simple, but walk don’t forget to walk through all the important steps of creating a weekly menu and grocery shopping list!
- Budgeting for Essentials & Extras
Help your child learn proper shopping skills by covering budget making and follow through! Don’t forget to cover the importance of sticking to a grocery shopping list to stay on budget and only allowing the occasional extras.
- Grocery Shopping & Proper Food Storage
Allowing older children to walk through the entire grocery shopping scenario on their own (while encouraging them to put things away in their proper places), will help the transition into adulthood be an easier one.
My 15 year old son can tackle an entire grocery shopping tip on his very own — which will be a welcomed relief for this homeshool mom, considering he will be able to drive by himself this coming summer. Huge win in my book.
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My mom taught my sister and I to cook when we were young. It’s served us well! I’m now a mom of five, and I’m thankful that she was patient and persistent in the kitchen. 🙂