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The SmartSitting Guide to Cooking With Kids

cooking with kids

What is one place kids can learn about art, science, math, and history? In the kitchen! Spending time with your children in the kitchen is a great way to engage their creativity and imagination while also teaching them valuable life skills. We tapped our SmartSitters to get their best culinary tricks for cooking with kids as sous chefs. Check out what advice they have!

Establish Rules

It’s always helpful to lay some ground rules before starting a cooking project with kids. Make sure they know not to touch any hot surfaces or electric appliances and to always wash their hands before touching food (or after sneaking tastes!).  Teaching them about basic food safety can help prevent upset stomachs down the road. Also, make sure to clarify which tasks are for grown-ups and which are for kids. Depending on their age, your little sous chef can tackle simple and fun skills, while you may take care of chopping, blending, and any complicated mixing and measuring.

Pick Your Recipe

Plan ahead a little when deciding what you’ll prepare together. Ask them what they’re interested in making and take some time to research a recipe together. Do they want to experiment with foods from different cultures? Are they excited about decorating cupcakes? By selecting a recipe together, your child is more likely to stay focused on the task at hand.

Keep Your Child’s Age in Mind

For younger kids, consider starting with simple dishes with fewer than five ingredients. That way your child won’t have to wait while you tackle a complicated step. For kids under 5, a tossed salad or easy muffin recipe can be great starter projects! Or, if you’re looking for fun for all ages, set up a pizza-making assembly line where kids can choose their own mini-crusts, sauces, cheeses, and toppings.

Come Prepared

Getting ingredients ready can be tedious and boring, especially for younger kids. Making sure your work space is organized before you begin will help with clean-up time down the road. Do some prep work in advance, such as rinsing the berries for muffins or measuring some ingredients in small bowls before you start. This will make the process move more swiftly, especially if you don’t have much time. 

Expect Some Mess

We all know everything is messier with kids around, so allow for some extra mess! If it starts to take over the workspace, clean up as you go. This will ensure that there’s less to do at the end, when all you’ll want to do is sit and bask in your culinary excellence. You can also use cleaning up to get them excited and ready for the next step in the process.

Take a Break

If there’s a lull in the action, you might consider giving your child a well-deserved break. Breaks ensure that they have a chance to recharge and get ready for whatever comes next! Have a dance party to some of these food-themed songs for kids and then wind down with some books while waiting for something to cook or cool.

Embrace Their Inner Julia Child

If your kids are feeling creative, have them act out their own cooking show. This can be a great way to get out a bit of extra energy or pass the time while you wait for things to bake. Let them create their own chef personas and guide an imaginary audience through the recipes. If you happen to have some chef hats or aprons lying around, even better! 

Hats Off to the Chef

Once your creations are out of the oven, be sure to compliment your sous chefs on a job well done! Acknowledging the great work they did will encourage a continued passion for cooking and raise their self-esteem. Offer them the first taste of whatever you cooked together—and ask what you should make together next time.

We can’t wait to see what delicious creations you come up with! Be sure to tag SmartSitting in your Facebook and Instagram posts, so we can see and share your posts on our channels. Looking for more tips? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for all the latest info coming from our team. Bon appetit!

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