Kids cooking around the world: get inspired by local programs and global dishes!

Have your kids been more interested in learning to cook now that they’re spending more time at home? We think of baking as the main gateway to cooking for kids, but kids can do so much more -- every day, around the world, many kids are responsible for their family's meals. Learn more, and get your kids ready to stretch their cooking skills!

What was the first recipe your child ever made? For lots of families, baking together is an easy first cooking project. In France, pre-schoolers are often taught to bake yogurt cake -- it’s a preferred first recipe because it is measured entirely with yogurt cups, making it easy for very young children to take the lead in scooping and stirring. No matter what you choose to make, baking is a stress-reliever that also teaches kids life skills like patience.

But please don't stop at baking! Kids are able to do so much more in the kitchen, and learning new kitchen skills is a fantastic way to bolster your kiddo's confidence...and help share the family workload. In many countries, children are responsible for all sorts of food related tasks from an early age—they help to grow the vegetables or tend to the animals that make up a family’s food supply. They feed chickens, herd goats and cows, catch fish, and weed gardens. And in some places, they cook for other kids! To help stretch your kids’ interest to new kinds of cooking projects beyond baking, try showing them this video of village children in Bangladesh cooking their own lunch, or this boy in China cooking food for his little brother. Even young children are capable of cooking incredible meals with a little help from their family!

Schools have played an essential role in teaching kids to grow and serve their own food: in schools all over BC, children have helped to grow food in school gardens from Vancouver all the way up to North Peace.  And in schools in Japan, children take turns being responsible for serving their classmates lunch and cleaning up afterwards.

But even though schools are currently closed, you still have the most important piece of the puzzle for sparking your kids’ interest in preparing food: your kitchen! Start by finding out how to make your own kitchen garden from our tutorials, then head to Project CHEF and SPEC BC’s Neighbourhood Nature School for loads of online learning resources about gardening and cooking from home. New York City's Edible Schools project has also put together some fantastic learn-from-home resources to help get kids started growing and prepping their own meals. And to help make cooking part of learning from home, we’ve rounded up 40 of our best posts on cooking your way through every school subject, from art to chemistry!

Some kids are happiest starting small -- very small! -- with new cooking projects. Tiny cooking videos (where real food is prepared in doll-sized kitchens) are a fun way to spark kids’ interest in new recipes to try, like this tiny risotto or this Punjabi Thali. While it’s not prepared by children, it’s very kid friendly and can start some fun discussions on how to make a kid-sized version of new-to-you dishes...or tiny versions of old family recipes!

Once your kiddos are ready for a cooking adventure, check out our archives! We’ve got loads of summer recipes and videos for kids to try out with you. Try out a beach picnic, outdoor cooking or cooking using only your freezer. Cool off with cold drinks, the history of lemonade, and chill summer dinner ideas. And for more inspiration, join us on Facebook and Instagram!

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