9 Benefits of Cooking With Kids

Posted by Grant Oster on

When it comes to cooking with your kids, the benefits go beyond learning how to prepare meals. Cooking with your kids is a great way to build your relationship and teach them about healthy eating. Cooking can help foster creativity and imagination, encourage independence, and teach basic math skills. It can also do wonders to improve their motor skills. Here are a few ways to make the most out of cooking with your kids.

The importance of learning how to cook

Cooking is a life skill. It's not just about being able to whip up a tasty meal; it's also an important way to express yourself, connect with others, and make your own food choices. And cooking with your kids can be a great way for them to learn those same important lessons.

The trick is to start early and keep it fun. It might be tempting to try and teach your kid how to cook at ages 5 or 6, but it may be better if you wait until they’re older to teach them how to cook a full meal. In the meantime, find other ways for them to get involved in the kitchen — like helping you chop vegetables or mix ingredients together.

Once they're old enough for full-on cooking classes (around ages 10 or 11), take advantage of their growing independence by letting them pick out recipes that interest them. 

Having kids help in the kitchen

Kids can help with prep work, cleanup, cooking, and baking. They can also help with meal planning and menu planning. The key is to make sure they are safe and supervised. You can also let them help with specific tasks like washing dishes or setting the table. You could even give them a simple task like measuring ingredients, so they feel like they're contributing, too.

Here are some ideas for how to incorporate their input while cooking:

  • Have your child draw a picture of the meal you're going to make together. You could give them simple things like plates of pasta or chicken dishes and let them add whatever ingredients they want in their drawings. Then follow through on what they've sketched out.
  • Ask your kid if there is anything specific that they want on their pizza — or anything they don't want. Presenting choices is always a good thing when it comes to food because it allows children to express themselves while still getting something healthy into their bodies.
  • When making tacos (or any other dish), ask your child which toppings they think would go best together. For example, "would you put guacamole or sour cream on top of these nachos?"

The idea is to present your child with options and let him decide which ones he wants to try. This helps children feel in control of their diet while still getting the nutrients they need.

Top benefits of kids cooking in the kitchen

Cooking is a bonding experience.

Cooking is a great way to spend quality time with your children. As we all know, it's important to spend quality time with your kids when they're young so that you can build a strong bond and teach them about healthy eating, nutrition, and the importance of cooking.

By cooking together, you're teaching your kids important lessons about nutrition and health. It's especially important to teach children how to prepare healthy, nutritious meals so that they can make good choices for themselves as they enter adulthood.

Cooking helps children to appreciate what they eat.

One of the most important benefits of cooking with your children is that they learn to appreciate the food they're eating. Children who cook with their parents are more likely to try new foods and enjoy them because they know what goes into making these meals and understand how much time it takes to prepare a meal. In addition, when kids help make dinner for themselves or for their friends or family members, they have a deeper understanding of how important good nutrition is for our health and well-being.

Food can be used as an educational tool.

Cooking can be a great educational tool. You can teach your children about healthy eating by incorporating vegetables and fruit into their meals. Cooking is also a good way to introduce kids to different cultures, countries, and seasons—and this is especially important when you have a multicultural family.

Cooking encourages creativity and imagination.

Cooking can be a fun activity that encourages creativity and imagination in your kids. When you're cooking with them, they may come up with new ideas for how to use ingredients or present what they make. They may also experiment with new ingredients and cooking techniques, which will help them become more confident in the kitchen.

For example, if you're making homemade macaroni and cheese and they want to add crunchy breadcrumbs on top of their portion, that's totally okay. The point is that cooking allows children to be imaginative when using ingredients and preparing their food.

Cooking helps kids be more independent.

Cooking is a skill that helps kids be more independent. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride as they master the art of cooking. Cooking also teaches kids how to follow directions, read recipes and take the initiative. As your child grows up, they will be able to do many things on her own. The more they cook now, the easier it will be when they have their own kitchen in the future.

Children become less picky eaters when they're involved in cooking meals.

Cooking with your child is the perfect way to help them learn to eat new foods. Depending on their age and abilities, they can help pick out new items at the grocery store or farmers' market. If you're preparing a meal that includes something unfamiliar, have them help you chop it up and prepare it. Helping decide if something is delicious or disgusting will teach children that flavor preferences are subjective and not everyone likes everything (and vice versa). This is a great lesson for children to learn early on because it will help them be more open-minded when they encounter new things later in life.

It's also important to teach children that different people have different preferences and tastes. When you're eating out with your child who has never had sushi, please don't make fun of them when they don't like it. Instead, try to explain why someone might enjoy it (the fish is fresh, or there are lots of vegetables) while still respecting their opinion on the matter.

Cooking encourages reading and following directions.

You can read recipes, food labels, and instructions on how to use a new appliance, or instructions on how to use a new toy. Kids are naturally curious, and they want to know what's inside.

As they get older, they may be able to read the instruction manual for the stovetop grill or their latest gadget without help. They may even have learned to read the directions that come with a new piece of furniture or toy at school (where reading practice is highly encouraged).

Cooking aids motor skill development.

Motor skill development is the ability of your child to use their body and limbs in a coordinated manner. It's important for kids to develop motor skills because they can lead to more efficient movement, which will help them perform tasks more easily as they get older. Some examples of these motor skills include:

  • Fine motor skills. This includes tasks like drawing and writing with a pencil or crayon, buttoning shirts, or opening lids on jars.
  • Gross motor skills. These are used when you're walking, running, jumping, or moving around in general. 

The best way for children to develop these types of movements is through playtime activities that require them to practice using their hands and bodies in different ways (like playing sports). Cooking can provide this type of activity by allowing your kids the opportunity to practice cooking motions like stirring ingredients together with a spoon or straining liquid over the sink while learning how different foods affect each other during the cooking process (think adding salt).

Cooking is great for kids who have food allergies or sensitivities.

Being able to cook is a great skill for kids to learn, especially if they have a food allergy or sensitivity. Cooking allows them to control what ingredients are going into their meals, which can be very helpful when you're trying to avoid certain foods.

It's often hard to find foods that are free of certain ingredients, but if you make meals at home, it's easy to control what goes into your child's food. You can make sure there aren't any ingredients that your child is allergic to or sensitive to. You can also control what types of fats are used in cooking and how much sugar or salt goes into each dish.

Cooking really benefits everyone

Cooking with your children can be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family. The benefits of cooking with your kids are numerous and well worth the effort. By setting aside time to teach them how to cook, you're helping them develop skills that will serve them throughout their lives—skills like patience, responsibility, persistence, critical thinking, and more. It may be a little challenging at first, but as long as you stay calm and patient, you'll be successful!

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