Five ways to help your little chef have fun in the kitchen

Posted by iChild, August 21, 2023 8:00 AM

By the team from homeware brand Denby

As a parent, you'll no doubt be spending a lot of time in the kitchen whipping up meals for your family. So, why not use these moments as an opportunity to spend time with your children as well? Cooking with little ones goes beyond creating lifelong memories, as it can also help to foster their creativity, impart valuable life skills, and cultivate an adventurous palate.

From measuring ingredients to mixing and tasting, cooking with kids combines both fun and learning with mouth-watering results. Below are some engaging ways to get kids involved in the kitchen so you can make the most of mealtimes together.


Involve them in the preparation process

One of the best ways you can get kids interested in cooking is by involving them before any cooking begins. Enlist their help to decide what to eat for dinner by giving them a few different recipes to choose from. Doing this will show them that they have some responsibility in the kitchen, and any 'fussy eaters' will be more likely to eat the meals that they've helped to plan. Simple recipes such as fruit salad or homemade pizzas can be great options when cooking with children.

With your recipe chosen, you can take your budding chef along to the supermarket or local market to pick out ingredients. While you're there, try to expose them to new ingredients they haven't tried before, asking them to describe the shape, colour, and texture of the fruit or vegetable. You might also want to take a new ingredient home with you for them to try. 

Give them small tasks

Kids love being one of the grown-ups, so giving them small tasks to do in the kitchen is a great way to get them feeling enthusiastic about cooking. You can tailor their tasks to their age and ability, starting with small jobs like washing fresh ingredients, mixing, or rolling out dough, before moving on to slightly bigger tasks like measuring or reading recipes. Jobs like these can also double up as fun learning experiences for your little one, teaching them valuable numeracy and literacy skills in a practical setting.

If your child is still very young, you can set up their highchair in a safe space and let them observe you while you cook. Give them a small utensil to play with (such as a wooden spoon) and talk them through what you're doing. Exposing them to the joys of cooking at an early age can get them used to the kitchen environment, meaning they'll be more inclined to cook with you as they grow up.

Turn everyday tasks into fun games

Transforming small tasks into games can help keep children engaged with the cooking process. For example, you can turn fetching ingredients into a small scavenger hunt or have them taste certain foods, encouraging them to describe the taste and texture in their own words. If you'll be using any new cooking utensils that your little chef isn't familiar with, let them use their imagination by asking what they think it does.

Let their creativity shine

Experimentation is key when it comes to cooking and sharing this time together not only teaches children practical skills, but it can also be great for unleashing their creativity. Whether you're decorating cakes or adding toppings to a pizza, this is the perfect opportunity to encourage your child to let their inner artist shine. For example, you could arrange pizza toppings into a face or use cookie cutters to create interesting shapes out of fruits and vegetables.

Give them some independence

Children enjoy any task when they feel like they have some independence, so be sure to get them involved when they’re ready.

You could also give children their own tableware and utensils that are designed for smaller hands, making them feel like one of the grown-ups. Be sure to keep them somewhere your child can easily access, so they can grab their plates and bowls themselves and get ready for dinner. Then, once your meal is finished, you can also show them how to clear the dishes and load the dishwasher themselves.

Cooking with children can have so many benefits for their development, from encouraging them to try new things to practising their numeracy and literacy skills. Try some of the tips above and inspire your little ones to help out in the kitchen and have fun while doing it. For even more helpful parenting tips, be sure to take a look at the other posts on the iChild blog.

By the team from homeware brand Denby


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