Cooking With Kids

Get everyone into the kitchen

Cooking isn’t just for the adults in the house! Kids can learn a lot of valuable lessons from cooking, including math and measurements, reading and direction, organization, and care and cleanliness. Time spent in the kitchen also offers the opportunity for parents and kids to get together, have some fun and share a great meal.

You might just find that your child has a real interest (and even talent) in cooking. Kids love getting their hands into all the different textures of foods and trying new things. The taste tests are always fun too!

How to Get Started

Before you commit to anything major – like a summer at cooking camp – you’ll want to test the waters. Watching cooking shows together is always a great way to see whether your child is interested in learning how to cook. If you think it's something they'd like to do, start off with you and your child in the kitchen together. Teach some simple lessons (for example, show them how to boil water and cook spaghetti or make hard boiled eggs) and, if they seem like they’re into it, move on to something more difficult like getting them to help you make dinner.

Once you’ve got a gauge of how interested your child is, you might want to look into an evening or Saturday afternoon class that your child can participate in. It’s best if you start with one that allows parental participation, so that your child isn’t overwhelmed by the presence of new people in conjunction with learning new skills..Once they’re more comfortable you can move them into a class where they participate on their own.

Keep it Fun

Make sure cooking doesn’t become a chore for your child – classes should be low pressure and fun to attend. They should also offer instruction in something your child is interested in. If he or she enjoys baking and you put them into a vegetarian cuisine class, you’ll end up fighting to keep them in the class. However, if you carefully select the class according to your child’s abilities and interests you’ll find that they end up looking forward to going to "school."

Lots of Choices

There are a number of different types of classes you can enroll your child in:

  • Birthday party classes. Your child and his or her friends spend the party learning to prepare a meal (including dessert) and finish off with a great feast.
  • Meal preparation. Some classes will focus on a particular meal. For early risers, get them into a breakfast class so they can learn to make the ultimate omelet; if you’ve got a late sleeper, a Saturday brunch class might just be the ticket.
  • Theme classes. If your child is learning about geography or a different country in school, supplement their learning with some themed cooking classes. Nothing will bring them closer to their study of Italy, France or China than getting the chance to taste some of the foods that are found there.
  • Baking classes. For the kid with a sweet tooth, a baking class is the best choice because they’ll learn how to make all their favorite treats.
  • Culinary courses. These classes are designed for older kids and teens who’ve expressed an interest in knaowing how to cook in general, or who might be headed for a career in the culinary arts. They tend to be more in depth and teach basic cooking skills and terminology and encourage kids to learn how cooking works and how foods interact so that they can come up with their own recipes.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the different opportunities for kids and cooking classes. Look around for local programs that’ll get your kids into the kitchen – you might find something that your whole family can enjoy!

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