Top ten ways to encourage kids to enjoy cooking

Cooking is an important life skill so it’s important to get children excited about trying cooking for themselves. Luckily most kids love food and adore getting sticky so you’re already off to a great start. Plus, kids’ cookery is something you can do with children at home without too much expense or preparation and can be a great way to use up a rainy afternoon.

Learning to cook is not only enjoyable but if your children develop the skills and enthusiasm to cook for themselves from scratch then they’ll be on track to a healthy and cheaper life as they grow up.

Here is Kidsguide’s top ten tips for making cooking fun for kids:

Let your children choose what to cook – kids are much more enthusiastic about cooking something they like to eat.

Stay chilled. There is going to be mess, lots of mess and it’s going to take a looong time to do the simplest recipe so make sure you have plenty of time available and be patient.

Let them get their hands stuck in – cooking is a delightfully sensory experience – squidging and squishing is all part of the fun of cooking for kids.

Lower your usual hygiene standards – licked fingers will inevitably end up back in the icing mixture. But be strict about the important stuff – children need to learn to wash hands properly before cooking and after handling raw meat etc.

Encourage your children to taste the food – it’s more fun and they can learn about how to season food etc.

Don’t take over. Let your child be in control of their own cooking – does it really matter if the icing is blue and brown and there’s half a packet of sprinkles on one fairy cake?

Be realistic and take sensible shortcuts depending on the age and ability of your child. It might be a lovely idea to make your own pastry and then make chicken and mushroom pies with a twelve year old. But if your child is only three it might be more practical to use ready made pastry and stick to something simple like jam tarts.

Think about which cooking activities your child will enjoy and choose a recipe which includes those kids-friendly cooking techniques – stirring, sieving, kneading, rolling out and cutting shapes are all good fun. Older children might like being allowed to use an electric whisk or a cheese grater.

Give your child responsibility for one part of a real meal e.g. mashing the potatoes or preparing and cooking the carrots. This will teach your son or daughter real-life practical cooking skills and make them feel grown up. Always let your child be in the kitchen watching and helping with your daily cooking whenever safe and possible.

Let your kids be proud of food they have made themselves. Let them serve their wonkily cut sandwiches and misshapen biscuits to Grandma or whoever is most likely to appreciate their efforts. And (however long is is going to take to clear up that kitchen) take a moment to be proud of them too!


Pancakes are a great first thing for kids to cook – take a look at these child-friendly recipes …
Pancake recipe & 7 best easy pancake toppings for kids
Tasty Oat and Banana Pancakes (vegan plus lactose and gluten free too!)

Cooking  is perfect time-consuming rainy day activity – take a look at these other ideas too …
Free things for children to do on a rainy day
Cheap & easy things for kids to do at home

But if you really just need to get out of the house, take a look at the rainy day ideas pages for your area: Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool & Wirral, Flintshire & Wrexham

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