5 life skills your child can learn in the kitchen

Cooking is a skill—and it's also a great way to teach life lessons that will nourish your child.

September is back-to-school month, and we’ve been having fun posting about all the ways cooking can help make the school year a snap. Today, we’re talking about some of the life skills your kid can learn in the kitchen: besides fueling you up, cooking together builds well-being, resilience, patience, confidence, and oh yes—fun!

Well being:
Cooking together has multiple mental health benefits—in fact, it is sometimes used as therapy for depression and anxiety in teens because it is very effective at breaking negative thinking cycles. Cooking demands that kids focus on process; it engages all of the senses, and establishes a daily pattern during times when everyone’s routine is undergoing a shake-up—so it’s no wonder that kids find cooking time so helpful. Check out our guidelines on keeping cooking with kids a relaxing experience, and get inspired by this dinner club for older kids.

Letting kids take safe risks is one of the best ways to help them build resiliency: that’s the ability to learn from mistakes, bounce back from disappointment and find solutions to problems. Cooking is full of manageable risks, from the skills involved in learning to pour flour or handle a knife; to dealing with the minor disasters that happen to every cook at some point (like leaving sugar out of the holiday cookies, or adding salt instead of sugar...oops). Consider starting by making a kid-friendly workspace, then try these easy, skill-based projects to challenge your kids in the kitchen—you might be surprised at what they can do!

Cooking makes everyone slow down, and rewards you for being patient with something delicious to enjoy together. In fact, even toddlers can practice patience this way—try making this French yogurt cake with them (accompanied by a great read on how in France children learn to bake yogurt cake at a young age—and learn the ability to wait as a result!)

As kids learn all the skills they need to have fun in the kitchen, they build confidence too. Interestingly, there’s evidence that just sharing a meal together boosts confidence and happiness. To help your kids build independence try these pointers for getting teens into the kitchen, or these activities broken down by skill level. Because being in the kitchen also ties beautifully into school subjects, it’s a great way to practice material kids are learning in school—or foster new interests! Here’s our round-up of how to build confidence through cooking in any school subject, from science to math to reading and more.

Ready to have a blast together? Here are some of our favourite resources for how to enjoy cooking and eating as a family:
    •    Try these simple cooking projects together. 

    •    Our March break round-ups (part one and part two) are full of activities to try.

    •    Get outside with our picnic ideas: we’ve got treasure hunts, beach ideas, camp cooking and cooking al fresco.

    •    Weather not cooperating? Learn how to start a family recipe book, or cosy up with our movie night ideas.

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