12 Tips for Teaching Kids to Cook + Resources

The value of teaching children to become independent and responsible is priceless. In a society where it’s becoming increasingly easier to avoid this responsibility as a parent, I place a high emphasis on promoting learning skills such as cooking, cleaning, and helping others. Even before becoming a homeschool parent, I wanted my kids to learn these basic skills to help shape and mold them into becoming levelheaded and reliable adults.

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Teaching kids to cook can be both frustrating and fun. Frustrating because it does take patience, and fun because this is usually a skill that younger children are eager to learn. When my kids were younger (the 5-9 age range) they were always wanting to help me in the kitchen, now that they’re teenagers that excitement has worn off. However, they’ve learned enough basic cooking skills to be able to prepare meals and help without instruction (yay!).

More advanced cooking for teens

Maybe you are a parent who doesn’t cook yourself. And that’s okay! You can still teach your kids to cook with some of the basics. There are so many resources available, that are free and easy to access. I’m going to discuss some of these free (and awesome!) resources and tips for teaching kids to cook below.

Tips for teaching kids to cook:

  1. Supervision is necessary. Don’t leave a child unattended while they are using utensils or hot surfaces unless they are older and experienced.
  2. Make cooking fun with edible crafts!
  3. Incorporate dishwashing in the cooking process. Teach kids to clean up after themselves by washing dishes after or while they are cooking.
  4. Start simple and work your way towards more complex recipes (example, start with snacks and work your way into cooking meals)
  5. Before advancing to the use of knives and hot surfaces, make sure you teach the importance of safety in the kitchen and that the children are at an appropriate age to learn these skills.
  6. Take an online cooking class together.
  7. Teach how to use measuring cups and spoons.
  8. Have a kitchen measurement conversion chart available, or use this one online.
  9. Teach kids culinary terms, such as boil, chop, and marinate for example. Culinary Terms for Kids is a great reference. 
  10. Pre-measure ingredients for easier learning.
  11. Involve kids in planning a weekly menu and grocery shopping for needed items.
  12. Be encouraging and praise the little things to help build confidence.
Learning to brown meat or make scrambled eggs is great for kids aged 7 and up (with adult supervision!)

Easy & simple recipes for kids to learn:

  • Poor Man’s Pizzas (frozen garlic bread topped with pizza sauce, pepperoni or sausage, and cheese, and then baked) or English Muffin Pizzas
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Smoothies
  • Quesadillas
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Walking tacos
  • Pudding cups
  • Soups
  • Veggies and dip
  • Pancakes
  • Guacamole
Easy pudding cups

Resources for teaching kids to cook:

Technology is an invaluable thing! I can’t tell you how many times I’m asking Google to convert a measurement for something while my hands are stuck kneading dough, or when I’ve had to look up a recipe or watch a video on how to make something.  Whether it’s looking up a recipe, taking an online cooking class, playing cooking games, or watching a how-to video, having digitally available resources for kids is great for learning as well.

Have fun with online food education games here. Kids can learn how to boil an egg, build a burger, bake a cake, make healthy food choices, and serve breakfast with these available free online Kids Food Games.

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