If you're wanting to get the kids in the kitchen but are a little worried about having small hands near the stove or around knives, don't worry; there are many easy cooking activities for kids.
Easy Cooking Activities for Kids: Hands-on Ideas
There's a myriad of reasons why you should let your kids help in the kitchen the least of which is that it provides extra bonding time. However, many experts say that it also offers the opportunity to give a "hands-on" lesson in healthy eating habits. Kids are much more likely to try new things if they had a hand in preparing them.
Bread Dough Shapes
Get out your favorite pizza dough or bread stick recipe and have some fun making bread dough. From letting your little ones measure the bread to hand-kneading the dough, this is one activity that can't be beat in terms of fun. After you knead and "proof" the dough for the last time, make shapes with the bread in the form of pretzels, letters or just about anything else you can imagine. It's like play dough-only better because it's edible. If you don't have a great bread dough recipe for doing this with your child, try this soft baked pretzel recipe.
Three Layer Pudding Pie
It doesn't get much easier than pudding pie, especially if your child is about preschool age. The original recipe comes from the folks at Kraft and is technically for a chocolate pie. However, any flavor pudding will do, and the best part is that no matter how "creative" your kitchen help gets-if it includes pudding and whipped cream-it can't go wrong!
The great part of making pickles at home is that it is a great example of something going from the garden to the kitchen. The down side is that the pickles do need to sit in the fridge for quite a few days to get that truly delicious taste so the gratification isn't instant. Nonetheless, making pickles is still a great project in the kitchen, and you can be as creative as you want to be with your seasoning. If you're not sure how to make pickles, follow the directions from Pick Your Own, a website dedicated to picking your own food.
Making butter is just plain fun, and it is so versatile that it's something little hands could do while you are preparing dinner. Butter is made by vigorously shaking cream. You can season the butter however you'd like by adding chopped up herbs, salt, pepper or other spices. The trick here is to make sure that the container with cream is well sealed. Your kids can kick, shake, and wiggle their way to a topping for potatoes, popcorn or just about anything else.
Sweet Carrot Salad
Carrots are a great vegetable for kids to handle because they can use a vegetable peeler on them. Vegetable peelers are moderately kid friendly since in order to use them you have to place your fingers behind the peeler thus ensuring that fingers don't get cut. (You should always supervise your child while doing this though.) Have your child peel carrots and add them to some vanilla yogurt. Add raisins, or craisins and voila-your child has just created a healthy snack.
Ode to the Omelet
While you might not want your child actually at the stove, mixing the eggs and preparing the "stuffing" for an omelet is super easy. Old fashioned egg beaters assure that little fingers can mix without getting caught in the mixer, and stuffings for the omelet can be torn, or chopped with a plastic knife.
More Ideas for Kids in the Kitchen
There are a slew of easy cooking activities for kids such that you are only limited by your creativity. However, if you really feel like you need some direction, make sure to check out some of the following:
- Spatulatta.com-This site is cooking for kids at its finest, and if you're ready to turn your child loose in the kitchen, they will find plenty of interesting recipes here. What's especially great is that the site includes vegan and vegetarian recipes as well as a slew of recipes for simple healthy eating.
- Disney Family publishes "how-to" recipes for readers to follow. Often inspired by a Disney character, their recipes are kid-friendly and focused on making cooking creative, fun, and easy for kids.
- Why not "travel" through your food? Cookbooks like American Grubs combine geography, odd trivia, and great recipes.
If you have any more easy cooking activities for kids you'd like to suggest, please do so in the comments section of this article.