How to cook with your kids

Want to start cooking with your kids, but not sure how to get started? Here's our recipe for success.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to get your kids cooking with you? There’s no better way to get your year off to an energizing start, and even just enjoying a meal together can be a wonderful boost to everyone’s well-being. Below, we’re sharing some tips to get everyone excited to get in the kitchen—and how to make cooking together part of your weekly routine. 

Set the tune -- er, tone: 

Cooking together can be a great way to relax—but it can also be incredibly stressful if you’re not in the mood. To help you stay relaxed, don’t cook with your kids on a day that you care about your kitchen being clean. Instead, enjoy cooking together BEFORE you plan to clean, expect some mess, and use the extra hands to help you tidy up! To get everyone into their happy place, there’s no easier way to set the tone for family kitchen time than putting on some great music. Let your kid DJ, or pick your favourites to bust a move together. Food magazines like Bon Appetit and Food52 both offer music collections for cooking, and you can find user-created cooking playlists on both Youtube and Spotify (for example, this happy songs for cooking breakfast playlist got two thumbs up by our kid testers.)

Let their curiosity lead the way: 

Giving your kids opportunities to get curious about cooking is a great way to engage them. Start with something simple like a choose-your-own-adventure mealthese are meals that require picking and choosing toppings or ingredients to customize your own plate, and they’re an easy way to encourage kids to try new tastes. Then, explore your local library’s cookbook section (here’s our guide to some of the best books to look for there, along with with online resources) or pick a cooking project together—we’ve grouped suggestions here for you based on cooking skill level and how ambitious you’re all feeling

Give them good risks: 

There are loads of tasks kids can take on based on their age and skill level. Even toddlers can unload groceries, stir with a wooden spoon and transfer peelings from a cutting board to a green bin—we love this list of suggestions for other ways they can help out too. As your kids gain confidence in the kitchen, make sure to keep their interest by giving them good risks—these are tasks that are important to the dish and that require focus to do properly. Teach them knife skills (here’s how), or let them work with hot pots—teaching them techniques like the awkward elbow let help them do these tasks safely. One of the tastiest risks you can take in the kitchen is inventing a recipe together—this tutorial does a great job of walking you through how to invent and tweak a recipe when kids take the lead.

Cooking and eating together has major benefits for kids, including teaching them helpful life skills. As you figure out cooking together, make sure to enjoy eating together too—we’ve got loads of ideas for you here to help make dinnertime something everyone enjoys.  To find more easy projects to get you started cooking together, check out our recipe archives and blog archives—or, join our community on Facebook and Instagram!

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