The benefits of cooking with kids go far beyond having fun together and teaching them basic kitchen skills. Here’s my list of 12 reasons every child should learn to cook – some of them might surprise you!
Both of my kids have been in the kitchen with me from the moment they could hold a wooden spoon.
Some days they’re more eager to help than others – to be honest, some days I’m more eager to have them help than others. But I definitely see how time spent in the kitchen has increased their enjoyment of cooking, serving, and – of course – eating food!
More importantly, I’m beginning to see the lessons they’ve learned in the kitchen yield benefits in areas of their lives too!
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12 Reasons Every Child Should Learn to Cook
1. It’s an Important Life Skill
I’m grateful I learned basic cooking skills at a young age. I know many women who don’t feel confident in the kitchen, and they really struggle to consistently cook healthy meals for their families because of it.
2. Builds Relationships
In addition to helping parents to spend time with their children, cooking together fosters cooperation and communication among siblings. It’s shocking how beautifully brothers and sisters will work together when there’s a batch of cookies at stake!
3. Gives Appreciation for Real Food
Preparing foods from scratch allows children to see for themselves the difference between real foods and processed ones. As you cook, talk about the health benefits of the wholesome foods God made.
4. Cuts Down on Picky Eating
Even the pickiest eaters will come around to trying new foods if they were involved in cooking them. If you’ve got a picky eater, bring them into the kitchen. Be patient – even if it doesn’t work right away, it will eventually!
5. Develops Fine Motor Skills
Stirring, rolling, measuring, sprinkling are just a few kitchen tasks that allow young children to hone their fine motor skills.
6. Requires Following Instructions
What child couldn’t use a little more practice in this area? They’re motivated to get it right because dinner may taste bad if they don’t!
7. Practices Reading
My kindergartner can now read a recipe herself, gather her supplies, and start preparing it with very little assistance. She loves the sense of accomplishment, and I’m excited about how much easier my job just got!
8. Practices Math
Cooking involves lots of math – simple counting (three tablespoons), more than/less than (add a little more), fractions (1/2 cup), and the list goes on.
9. Creative Outlet
Kids love getting to help decide what’s for dinner, what goes in the fruit salad, or just about any other part of the meal. Older kids can express their creativity in recipe development and food presentation – I love watching my six year old carefully and artfully design her lunch plate the same way she would an art project.
10. Offers a Chance to be Praised and Encouraged
We all know kids love being praised for their accomplishments. Teaching kids to cook provides opportunities to encourage and applaud their efforts in the kitchen, and allows other family members to chime in at the dinner table when mom shares which child helped with each part of the meal. I absolutely love seeing my kids light up when their Daddy tells them they did a great job!
11. Opportunities to Serve
Whether it’s making a snack for a sibling, or helping cook and deliver dinner for a friend in need, it’s important for children to see food as a tool to show loving care for others.
12. Relieves Mom
Does this one really need explanation? I admit it has only been in the past year that my kids have been old enough to really help reduce my workload. But, looking back, it was totally worth the wait, and it’s getting better all the time!
If you enjoyed this list of reasons why to get your kids in the kitchen, check out my follow up post that tells youhow to teach your kids to cook!:
You may also want to check out the widely loved Kids Cook Real Food course by teacher, mom, and fellow blogger, Katie Kimball.
Here are a few other favorite kids posts!
5 Reasons My Kids Don’t Eat Breakfast Cereal
Healthy Snacks & Travel Hacks for Flying with Young Kids
5 Things Our Daughters Need to Hear About Their Bodies
Filed Under: Kids HealthTagged With: children, Kids, kitchen tips, Parenting
Cooking is fun, once you've learned it. There will be a period when you make mistakes along the way but that goes with the territory whenever you learn a new skill. The beauty about cooking is that there are so many resources to turn to.
You can find tutorials and recipes on television (Food Network and hundreds of cooking shows), books, and the internet.These resources are filled with "tried and true"recipes that have been cooked by others and reviewed. Many of the recipes have helpful reviews from cooks, who are listed as beginner, intermediate or expert. Some of them even drop helpful hints on how they prepared the dish differently, in some cases.
There isn't a cook in the world who hasn't used these resources, and with the internet, learning to cook couldn't be any easier.
You, the budding chef, are not alone in the kitchen. Help is around the corner!
Once you know the basics and attained the title of "intermediate" cook, you can enjoy the art of cooking. And, maybe, have some fun once-in-a-while.