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Tips for cooking with kids and grandkids

Want to whip up some fun with your kids or grandkids? Look no further than your kitchen. And while you enjoy having your own little sous chef, you’ll also be teaching them a life-long healthy habit while:

  • Connecting with them
  • Giving them cooking confidence — a valuable life skill
  • Helping with their literacy by reading recipes
  • Upping their math skills — measuring (and perhaps adjusting or converting amounts) ingredients
  • Increasing their food likes — picky eaters tend to try food they make
  • Expanding their knowledge of cultures — where certain foods or recipes come from
  • Passing on favourite family recipes and traditions — and maybe even a few secrets
  • Helping fine-tune their coordination — washing, kneading, stirring, chopping all require muscle control

Safety first; age and ability second

Before you start, go over safety rules with your kids or grandkids. Be clear about how to use gadgets and equipment safely, and what’s off limits (like a hot stove). And remember, those times where they just want to sit and watch you cook are just as important and beneficial for both of you.

Next, you’ll want to consider tasks that fit your little one’s age and ability. Use the following as a general guide:

  • 2-3 year olds — gathering, washing, counting and adding ingredients
  • 3-4 year olds — pouring, mashing or peeling by hand (e.g. hard-boiled eggs); making a simple sandwich or assembling a pizza
  • 4-6 year olds — stirring ingredients; using a plastic knife to slice cooked vegetables or soft fruit or cheese
  • 6-8 year olds — using a grater, toaster, blender or can opener safely; tossing a salad; writing a grocery list; making a wrap or roll
  • 8-11 year olds — using a knife for cooked meats, cheese, bread; making their own lunch; using the microwave or stove with supervision

Make cooking fun for kids

The more you involve them, the better — even before the cooking starts. Use these tips to keep them engaged and inspired:

  • Choose (kid-friendly) recipes together
  • Make a grocery list and then shop together
  • Have them invite a friend to join in
  • Host a make-your-own-mini-pizza night
  • Sample smoothies — from a recipe or invent your own
  • Get growing together — plant, pick, wash and eat your own herbs or vegetables

Looking for great recipes to try alone or with your kids or grandkids? Check out our recipes for delicious and nutritious meals and snacks.

Cooking with kids and grandkids