We totally understand if the thought of kids in the kitchen sends you into a panic. Truth is, little helping hands often make tasks longer and messes bigger. So consider this as a kind of disclaimer: while these recipes are easy to make, adding kids into the equation will require additional clean up. Now that that’s covered:
Kids LOVE helping out in the kitchen, and there are so many benefits, too. The activity promotes interest in food and cooking, a plus if your little ones are picky eaters. Having them help out in making a meal increases the chances of them actually eating it. Cooking is a hands-on way of introducing math skills through measurements, as well as language and comprehension skills while you give out instructions. It’s also a bonding experience. Yes, the mess is big, but so is the reward. Nothing matches up to a child’s beaming face when they see what they’ve achieved!
These five easy recipes are ideal for some fun cooking and experimentation with the kids. Check them out below!
Before starting out on this activity, remind your little ones about the importance of clean hands while handling food. Also make sure that they can reach countertops safely – there are some great gadgets for little kitchen helpers out there, but even a simple stool can do wonders.
Baguette Pizzas by deliciousmagazine.com
A firm family favourite, we love how versatile these baguette pizzas are. Prepare some toppings together and the kids can create their own baguette. You’d be surprised at how many new foods they’ll be willing to try as they choose their toppings. For pickier eaters, you can opt for basic foolproof ingredients such as corn, or an egg. To save you from thinking of a separate meal for the adults, simply add your prefered toppings to your baguettes. There’s no limit to what you can load! The adults in our home love to add some spicy chorizo or pre cooked chicken pieces plus some lovely veggies.
Did you know that freshly baked baguettes freeze perfectly well? Simply defrost when you need it and it’s ready to transform into a delicious pizza baguette. Since we’ve discovered this recipe, baguettes have found a permanent place in our freezer.
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Image credit: Delicious
Mini Quiches by foodess.com
Never underestimate the power of a quiche. Bake it in a muffin tin, and kids, even the pickiest, would be excited to try it out. We love how the kids can help out to make these – at two years old, my very picky eater would recite the ingredients to this recipe to anyone who would listen. His favourite part was cracking the eggs, obviously because it feels like slime and kids somehow love playing with that texture (!).
Having him help out meant fishing out pieces of egg shell from our mixture, but by time he became a pro egg cracker! The beauty of this recipe is that you can tweak it so easily. We often swap ham or sausage to lentils for a healthier option and corn goes well with it, too.
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Image credit: Foodess
Strawberry SunButter Bites by weelicious
This recipe contains ingredients that most kids love: strawberries and peanut butter. If your little one isn’t too fond of flour tortillas, this recipe can help them appreciate this ingredient more (and maybe also lead them to eat it when paired up with something savoury).
There’s another benefit to this recipe: strawberries are perfect for practicing cutting skills. If you don’t have a kids’ knife, a butter knife will also do. You can show your little one how to cut safely by keeping their little fingers tucked away from the knife. This article on toddler knife skills is a great resource on the subject!
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Image credit: Weelicious
Double Chocolate Chia Protein Bites by Sarahremmer.com
These protein balls are perfect for healthy, on the go snacking or as a quick breakfast fix when everyone is running late. Swap the peanut butter for pumpkin seed butter and you can also add these as a lunchbox treat for school. Kids will love shaping the mixture into little balls and, having participated in making them, they’d be more willing to try them out.
The recipe uses staple, pantry ingredients so there’s no need to run to health shops to source all that’s needed. And we promise – adults will love these, too!
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Image credit: Sarah Remmer
Fajitas by bbcgoodfood.com
This recipe is ideal for slightly older kids who are eager to take it up a notch in the kitchen and experiment with different flavours. They will also love choosing their fillings and trying out the perfect tortilla roll-up.
Adapt the ingredients according to what they like, or what they’re ready to try. Check out the recipe for a step-by-step guide of how the kids can help make this delicious meal.
Helping out in the kitchen early on sets kids up for a healthier relationship with food. Cooking together provides opportunities for talking about the benefits of healthy eating and encourages kids to try out new ingredients. As we said, any potential (but very probable) mess is well worth it in the grand scheme of things. Happy cooking!
Get more easy recipes for kids in our Foodie section!