Cooking, with the Kids
24th May 2022
Cooking, with kids, not only enables children to learn important kitchen skills, it’s also another step to self-sufficiency and gives them a better understanding of how their food gets on their plate. It also offers a fun way to spend quality time as a family, potentially unearthing a child’s passion for cookery, one they will build upon throughout their lives.
Tips for cooking with kids
Choose the time slot wisely and allow lots of time for prepping, cooking and clearing up! The last thing you want is to add any unnecessary stress into the mix, such as trying to get your lasagne ready before Brownies or a party your child has to go to. Try a weekend morning or afternoon, or start in the holidays.
Get your children to start preparing their own breakfast. It’s amazing the sense of independence and how grown they’ll feel as a result of simply grabbing some cereal, fruit and milk, or using the toaster.
Aside from breakfast, a great starting recipe for little ones to cook are pizzas and cupcakes. Many recipe website resources aimed at kids have age ranges on the recipes – see below for a list of recommendations.
Fight the urge to hover over them, let them have a go at everything, even if it is frustrating to watch (remember the tip on allowing lots of time!). Only grab the knife off them if they’re about to chop their fingers off!
Make sure you always supervise when the use of heat is involved, or sharp utensils, such as knives or box graters, and be sure to use your common sense to determine what jobs they can do themselves, based on their age and skill level.
Start simple, with jobs such as mixing and measuring, then progress to slightly trickier techniques over time. The more they cook, the better they’ll get.
It’s also important to remember that flimsy or blunt knives are unsafe. It’s recommended that the knife is sharp enough not to slip when you push down on it.
Consider starting out with a serrated knife while they’re getting used to the proper chopping motions. The serrated teeth will grab the food more easily and make the knife less likely to slip.
Get the kids really excited about cooking by letting them choose what they want to make. Age dependent, they could plan a menu and get involved with the shopping.
Include from the start
Get them really excited about cooking by letting them choose what they want to make. Age dependent they could plan a menu and get involved with the shopping.
Teach food hygiene
Ensure they wash their hands before cooking and in between touching raw and cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
Don’t forget, the chef gets to taste throughout the process and can have first dibs on whatever it may be you produce! Let them feel like they are making the decisions, such as toppings for pizzas or which vegetables to add to the curry.
Kids won’t learn to love cooking if it’s a stressful and unenjoyable experience. Relax and have fun and they will learn without realising it.
Recipe resources for kids
As with everything, the internet has a plethora of resources to choose from when it comes to choosing a recipe to cook together, here are a few of the favourites from the Middleton household:
Celebrity Chef’s children
They have a pretty good platform to become child TV chefs, but kids prefer watching kids so give these a try:
Jamie Oliver teams up with his son Buddy to help inspire more kids to get cooking. There’s a good selection of kid friendly recipes and videos as well as tips and advice . Website
Tilly Ramsay’s Recipes
Dust off your apron, grab your wooden spoon and cook up a storm with Gordon Ramsay’s daughter, Tilly. Website
Other chefs and websites
Great child friendly recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, healthy wholesome and seasonal as you would expect from River Cottage.. Website
Easy and fun cooking projects from the BBC. Website
Cookery TV programmes to watch together
What’s Cooking Omari?
Omari, who boasts the title of the youngest award-winning vegan chef in the UK, has his own CBBC show, where he shows children how to cook delicious vegan meals. Website
Harry Hill hosts, as judges Liam Charles and Ravneet Gill take on the tough task of finding Britain’s best junior baker.
Matilda and the Ramsay bunch
Tilly Ramsay swaps London for sun-soaked L.A, whipping up tasty treats while trying to ignore her famous – and totally embarrassing – Dad, Gordon.