Kids Cooking Camp at Home

One of the things that I’m pretty passionate about is teaching my kids to cook and bake.  I didn’t learn how to cook pretty much until I got married because my Mom cooked every meal for us until I left for college (love you Mom!).   But I decided it was important in our family to learn the skill and so over the years I have taught my kids basic cooking skills.  I am determined to have them cooking and baking well before they leave my house and hopefully sooner than that!  Here’s how you can get your kids cooking too:

Teaching kids how to cook at home - tips and kid friendly recipes www.thirtyhandmadedays.com

Why teach them how to cook?

  • They learn basic safety and awareness in the kitchen.
  • Cooking can be a fun time to bond with your kids.
  • Cooking and baking can be educational.
  • Your kids will become more independent and confident.


If you follow me on Instagram,  you’ve probably seen a lot of pictures of cooking and baking with my kids!

A few things to keep in mind before you start:

  • Start them young!
    While you wouldn’t give a knife to a baby, there are definitely things you can start when your kids are little.  They can stir, whisk and help in small ways.  As they get older, they can take on more.  If they have positive experiences from the start, they will want to continue helping in the kitchen.
    Note: if you’re reading this and have a 10 or 15 year old – it’s not too late!! Anytime is a good time to start.  Promise.
  • Give them tools but let them lead. 
    Start out with the basics and let them show you how much or how little they want to contribute.  If forces them to bake or cook with you, it will turn aversive and defeat the purpose.
  • Give up some control. 
    This is a tough one for some people (ahem… me…shhhh) and not a big deal to others.  There will be mistakes.  Just like you make mistakes in the kitchen yourself, your kids will measure the wrong amount or not do things as gently as you’d like or…. you get the idea.  LET THEM.  It’s part of learning how to be in the kitchen.   The more they do it, the more confidence they will have in their abilities.

Teaching kids how to cook and bake. www.thirtyhandmadedays.comSide note: my oldest really enjoys baking with us.  When I first started having him cook with me I was a little nervous because I didn’t know if he’d be careful enough or really be into it (read more about our journey with “the A word” here) but I want him to be kitchen safe and thought it’d be something we could do together.   It’s another perfect example of tailoring things to suit each of your children’s abilities.  Just go for it!

Ok now that that’s out of the way— how do you teach kids to cook?  Start with the basics.  Use the simplest recipe that you know your child will love and go with that.  Our first rule in the kitchen is to wash hands.  I say that every time we get ready to cook or bake but my kids say it along with me because they’ve heard it so many times.  Make sure to teach them proper sanitary along with the basics.    This is what is important in our home:

Important rules to teach your kids with cooking!

Here are some basic guidelines for age appropriate tasks.  As with anything, take the child’s maturity and ability into consideration.

Kitchen Skills by Age --- what tasks are appropriate for what age www.thirtyhandmadedays.comSource: William Sonoma

These are some great recipes to start with:

Most of my 6 ingredient or less recipes are perfect for cooking with kids too.  I suggest starting with something sweet and easy to get your kids interested in cooking, then move on to dinner or appetizers as they get more comfortable in the kitchen.

The best of the best kitchen tools for kids!
There are lots of amazing products that kids can use in the kitchen.  These are some of the best:
(affiliate links are included below)

Sites I love that kids will love too:

And if you’re wanting a couple of other posts, check out these from my friends:

Bread in a Bag from Your Homebased Mom

Creative Kids in the Kitchen from Smart School House

What I’d love to know from you is —- do your kids already know how to cook?  What tips do you have to add?

Mique
Hi- I'm Mique (as in Mickey). I started 30days as an idea file a few years ago. After three years and hundreds of ideas, I now realize that I'll never check them all off my list. When I'm not creating, I love spending time with family and friends and long drives, especially if they end at the beach.
Mique
Mique

Comments

  1. says

    I cook with my girls all the time. I agree teaching them young is important. Just like reading and math it is a skill they will use their entire lives.

  2. Elizabeth says

    I do not know if im just missing it and if I am. I’m very sorry. But I wish I could print out the rules and the cooking for what ages.

  3. Madeleine says

    This is so important! My parents taught me very few kitchen skills, but the few they did (like that I should cut the ends off of green beans before boiling them) have all come in handy. But I needed way more! I’m 23 and last week I had to use Pinterest to figure out how to hardboil an egg! And I still misinterpreted the instructions and did it wrong. I wish I’d had more training in my youth. I’m really trying now because I want to be confident before I have a family. But it’s hard to play catch up!!! I will definitely teach my kids everything I know. Once I know it. :/

  4. says

    This is great! I just found you through Pinterest and I’m glad. I love to cook and my daughter loves to help. She is 4 and she loves to bake. She is the best egg cracker ever :-). I used to be more like oh, no you’re going to make a mess. Now I’m more relax about it. Big deal, you just need to clean up a little bit more.
    Those are memories and bonding you create with your kids.

  5. says

    Thanks for this! Awesome info! I’ll be posting soon on my kiddos jobs in the kitchen as well. I like your charts!

  6. rachelle says

    I found that you really have to start with the very basics. My younger daughter wasn’t filling the measuring cups fully, my older daughter wasn’t stirring all the way to the bottom of the bowl, my son was afraid to break the eggs and get egg on his hands…so together we learned to break eggs into a small bowl and fish out the shell before adding the egg to the main recipe bowl. Now they are conquering these skills and moving on…my oldest loves the Magic Bullet and I thought it was a more controlled way for her to make smoothies. Be prepared for Flour Angels!

  7. says

    Yes, my kids enjoy helping in the kitchen. They help make the menus, help make the grocery lists, help shop for groceries, and help make the food.
    You said to let them make mistakes, but we also need to remember to accept and allow the messes. There will be plenty of messes. I’m still working in this one. ;)

  8. says

    I’m so glad I found this post through Orgjunkie! I finally am teaching my kids 5 meals to cook this summer. And they repeat the one from the previous week plus a new one this week. They are 10 and 15 (lol). As you stated in the post – never too old to learn. My goal is that they would be able to cook these 5 meals for us and for when they are off on their own. I will add more so that they leave the nest with 20-30 meals/dishes under their belt. TFS!

  9. Jen says

    I too would love a printable version. My daughter, 7, is finally asking to join me in the kitchen. I am always in the kitchen cooking and baking and trying new things, so I am amazed it has taken her this long to really get into it, but I am fostering it. She made chicken marsala last night with a little help from me and was so proud of herself and can’t wait to cook another meal.

  10. Kelli says

    Hi! Loved reading this! Do you have a printable of the skills or did I not see it? Thanks!

    • Heather Gothard says

      I would love a printable of the skills in the way you have it laid out as well if possible!

  11. says

    Love this post! It’s so important to teach our kids how to cook and be comfortable in the kitchen. So many leave home not having even basic cooking skills. Well done! Found you at Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays. PInning this!

  12. Heather says

    I got my seven year old a nylon chefs knife. It has a 6″ blade and she can work on her chopping without me worrying about her losing a finger. Don’t get me wrong…it could do some damage if not used with supervision, but not near the damage my knives would. She feels so cheffy when she chops a stalk of celery into pieces for soup!

  13. Kelley says

    I would love to get a printable copy of the skills by age. My kids love being in the kitchen, but I think we are going to ramp it up this summer. Thanks for the recipes. The kiddos can’t wait to start! Love, Love your blog!

  14. Terri says

    I like to bake with my girls, but I REALLY have to work on curbing my A-Type personality. Funny, I could do it with my students, but have a really hard time doing it with my girls. :/

    • Allison says

      I am having the same problem! After teaching elementary students for over 10 years, I thought I would be awesome at teaching my own kids to cook. But I am a perfectionist as well, so I struggle with wanting everything to be done the way I would have done it. It is definitely going to take much patience and allowing messes and mistakes to happen with my two kiddos. I have the feeling that we will all learn from each other and grow even closer through this process. :-)

  15. Miranda says

    As a woman who grew up being told to get out of the kitchen while my mom and grandma cooked/baked (they truly are magicians in the kitchen!)and then going to culinary school and working in some well noted kitchens, I could not agree with you more!! I have two boys, who love to help me in the kitchen. It’s a great bonding experience and will help make them well rounded southern gentlemen! (Live in Southern Louisiana) I also think it’s important for them to know how things are made and that it takes time, effort, humor and maybe a little dancing!! =)
    Well, maybe dancing isn’t for everyone but we sure have fun. And I want my boys to remember these times fondly.

    Happy Sunday!

  16. says

    You are so right on! My mom let all three of us kids help in the kitchen, encourage us to participate in 4H cooking classes, and always did it with such grace. By the time each of us were 12 yrs old, we could all cook, bake, and operated in the kitchen by ourselves. It was such a gift to our adult lives and the memories of working together in the kitchen are still some of my most treasured. As soon as my kids starting wanting to help me, I put them to age appropriate tasks. I can’t wait to try some of your simple recipes and let them make dinner for us!

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