Teaching Cooking Skills to Children

As our children observe us in the house, they will likely want to get involved with what we are doing. Depending on their age, allowing their participation can difficult. For example, working with a blow torch to make crème brulee is certainly not a task you would trust your five-year-old with. Still, you can teach your kids many valuable skills in the kitchen, progressing to more advanced techniques as they get older. Little by little, they will refine their culinary skills throughout their youth, hopefully with enough expertise to avoid takeout every night when they enter college!

If your small child is eager to please you as you work in the kitchen, give them small things to do! These can be minor tasks like washing carrots or potatoes for a stew you are making. Perhaps you can trust them with cracking eggs for you while you make cookies or simply just sprinkling some decorations on a freshly baked batch of cupcakes. By the time your little one reaches five, they should be able to spread icing relatively neatly!

Once your child is about six and is comfortable reading, you can focus more in depth on baking since they will need to read and use basic math for measuring. Start off with some store-bought cake mixes before making a dessert from scratch. Use their time-telling skills to teach them how to make a hard-boiled egg. You are still doing most of the work at this point, but including your little one and utilizing their new skills will pay off a great deal in the years to come.

Around age eight or when your child is finally tall enough to reach the counter-tops, you can teach them some supervised stove skills. At this point, they are also mature enough to use a peeler and can opener; they can potentially join you in planning family dinner. Start them off with smaller tasks to begin with like making the mashed potatoes or putting them in charge of mixing the salad. If they feel like more of the fancy type, you can even make them responsible for dessert.

Once your child becomes a teenager, their palette is far more developed and they can start experimenting with different flavors and textures. Though they are older, supervision is still very important at this age. Sometimes your teen will meticulously follow cooking instructions for an easy, straightforward meal;other times, the desire for something new may bring some surprises. Whether good or bad, it is important to allow them to be creative at this stage since they are embracing their new freedoms and sense of responsibility.

Never be afraid to encourage kids to take a step out of their comfort zone. Maybe it’s finally time to let them use that blow torch for crème brulee. Having some friends over for a casual hangout? Show them how you fire up the grill for a great barbecue; let them flip the steaks and get involved. Always look for small opportunities where they can lend a hand, however small the task may be.

The following recipes should inspire kids of all ages as they work with you in the kitchen:

Mini Pizzas

A super easy, quick recipe that allows your child to have fun and be creative with their very own personal pizza.

Ingredients:

Mini pizza crusts or flat bread

Tomato sauce

Italian cheese

Your choice of veggies

 

Step 1: Preheat oven to 415 degrees.

Step 2: Apply tomato sauce on your pizza. You may want to help your child with this to ensure that the sauce is distributed evenly.

Step 3: Build your own pizza! Sprinkle cheese and toppings. If you feel comfortable, allow your child to cut some of the vegetables. If you want to get fancy, add some chicken or sausage.

Step 4: Place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Cheesy Bread

Ingredients:

Dinner rolls

Buttermilk

Crushed garlic

Soft butter

Cheddar cheese

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2: Pour buttermilk in a bowl.

Step 3: Cut rolls in half.

Step 4: Mix garlic with butter.

Step 5: Dip the top of a roll in buttermilk and let it sit for five seconds. Then, dab it with the garlic butter.

Step 6. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese on roll and set on baking sheet.

Step 7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 until baking sheet is full.

Step 8. Bake for 10 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients:

Cookie dough

Vanilla ice cream

This really only requires you to set ice cream between two cookies, so determine whether you want to go all out on this one. You can buy pre-made cookie dough or if you want to spend some quality time in the kitchen, you can make your chocolate chip cookies from scratch!

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