Cooking and Baking with Children

Fun in the kitchen can have many hidden learning benefits for your child!

Encouraging children to take a more active role in cooking and baking has many hidden learning benefits: depending on their age, children can try read the numbers in the recipe and on the scales; as well as estimating whether there is ‘too little’ or ‘too much’ when measuring ingredients.

Child playing with bowl at nursery

Let's get messy

Before you start, be prepared!

While you’re cooking, let your child hold the ingredients; talk about what they look like, how they feel and smell, where they came from and discuss how you think the recipe will turn out. The more familiar children are with ingredients and the more they feel involved in the process, the more likely they are to eat the food at the end.

There’s no escaping the fact that cooking and baking with children is going to be messy, so get organised before you start.

  • Have old newspapers at the ready to cover anything and everything – mess can then easily be scooped up afterwards.
  • If you have aprons – great! But if you don’t, use old, baggy shirts to cover your child’s clothes.
  • Give them a larger-than-needed bowl for stirring the mixture to reduce splashing and spills.
  • Cover your recipe book (or i-pad!) in plastic if you’re worried about it getting damaged.
  • Allow double the time you think you’ll need for the recipe – give children plenty of time to explore all the ingredients (and the equipment) before you start.
  • If you’ve got more than one child, think ahead about who can do which tasks to avoid arguments.

Let the adventure begin

Get you child involved

Involving children in the choosing, preparing and cooking/baking of simple recipes can help them eat a wider variety of foods. It’s a fun way to introduce new ingredients, and encourages children to explore unknown tastes, smells or textures.

Try to involve your little one in every stage of the process, from choosing what to make to cleaning up afterwards.

Teach them about kitchen safety as you go – remind them about hot ovens and hobs and show them how you use the utensils safely.

Let them help with the safer jobs like sieving, mixing and whisking and practise cutting through things (like pastry) with a plastic play knife, or safety scissors.

Below are some of our favourite recipes, sweet and savoury, to make with children. Good luck and make sure to share videos and photos of how you get along as well as the finished product with us on Facebook or Instagram!

our top 10 sweet recipes

Sweet recipes

"Cooking is a way to teach kids about other things, like reading or math with all of the weights and measures." - Emeril Lagasse

our top 10 savoury recipes

Savoury recipes

“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.” - Guy Fieri

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