I’m going to be frank: your kids need to learn how to cook.
Now hear me out:
Not only is it an important life skill, but learning how to cook is so beneficial for your kids!
I’ve been cooking with my daughter since she was old enough to stand at the stove. It’s something she has always naturally shown interest in, so I took advantage of that.
Now that I’m homeschooling, we’ve included it as part of our weekly theme lessons (in addition to what she naturally helps with anyway).
Why are we embracing kids cooking as part of our curriculum? Because it teaches kids so much, both in intellectual development and physical development!
8 Reasons Why Kids MUST Learn How to Cook
How does cooking help a child’s intellectual development and physical development?
Learn How to Cook Benefit #1: Cooking touches on different learning styles.
Cooking touches on all types of learning styles: auditory (listening to the recipe being read), visual (reading the recipe or watching the steps demonstrated), and kinesthetic (doing and touching).
Additionally, cooking can help younger kids develop those much needed fine motor skills.
No mater how your child learns best, cooking will cover it! It’s an active learning process that keeps kids engaged no matter how they best learn.
Learn How to Cook Benefit #2: Cooking helps with STEM as well as reading and spelling.
Even if your kids are too young to read or do math, cooking exposes them to these skills.
When Ella was four and cooking, she didn’t understand fractions yet (or know how to read). However, when I ask her “Can you find the 1/2 cup measuring cup? One half is a one with a slash and a two under it” it helped her practice her numbers and become comfortable with fractions.
I also talk to her about how two 1/2 cups make up 1 cup , and I show her the differences in the measuring cup sizes.
As your kids get older, you can move them into helping with the measurements, recipe math, reading the recipes, and even creating their own recipes!
And, don’t forget that cooking is a great science experiment!
Learn How to Cook Benefit #3: Cooking increases communication with your kids.
“How was the troop meeting?”
Do you ever talk to your kid and get nothing out of them?
Then, a few minutes later you play a video game with them and they start spilling their guts?
It’s the same when you learn how to cook with kids.
During cooking, you are with your kids for a somewhat extended period of time, doing something with your hands, and conversation naturally starts to flow.
If you have something difficult to talk about with your child, start cooking with them and approach the topic organically while cooking. It may put both of you at ease and open a much-needed dialect.
Learn How to Cook Benefit #4: Cooking teaches nutrition to children.
It’s clearly important to teach good nutrition and healthy eating habits. However, just telling your children how to eat healthy can be a big SNORE fest.
Cooking with kids gives you a chance to talk to them (and show them) items that are better choices for recipes and eating.
And, you can learn how to cook healthy together! (How fun!)
Learn How to Cook Benefit #5: Cooking teaches kids responsibility.
Cooking takes a lot of responsibility.
You have to start something from nothing and then see it all the way through to end to make it happen.
And, don’t forget to give the kids the responsibility for keeping an eye (ear out) for the timer. It’s another great responsibility teacher!
Additionally, cooking teaches kids the important information about where their food comes from and how they have a responsibility to understand what is happening with their food before they eat it.
I’ll never forget when my daughter was around 4 years old and had her first understanding of food. We were traveling and passed some cows. In our discussion about cows, I revealed that cows made hamburgers. It opened an entire discussion about where certain foods come from and how to make the best choices for the food we eat.
Learn How to Cook Benefit #6: Cooking with kids boosts confidence!
Doesn’t it feel good when you accomplish something?
Well, it’s like that for kids, too!
When a child starts something (from nothing) and then is able to see the final result of a cooked product, it builds confidence in their abilities.
As your child ages, empower them by allowing them to come up with their own recipes.
Learn How to Cook Benefit #7: Cooking helps picky eaters.
If you have a super picky eater, one of the best things you can do is involve them in cooking their own meals.
(Did you know that kids are more likely to eat something that they’ve created or cooked?)
Investing in what they’re cooking urges kids to try their own creations.
Also, give them a say in what you’re cooking. Once they have a little more control over some of their food, you may see them relax that picky eater grip a little more.
Learn How to Cook Benefit #8: Cooking helps expose your family to different cultures.
My kid has always been a little foodie and will try anything. I mean anything (even things that I would never try).
I’ll never forget when she was 5 years old and we were at a restaurant buffet. One of the offerings was full crawfish (the kind where you pull the heads off and then eat the rest). She looked at those crawfish–head, eyes, antennae and all–and announced, “I’d like to try those.”
And? SHE LOVED THEM.
I believe that she is confident in experimenting with food for two reasons:
1. When she was young, we never told her the foods we didn’t like.
2. We always exposed her to new foods starting from a very young age.
Now, we often include different cultures in both our studies and our cooking. It’s a great way to add interesting diversity to your at-home learning.
We have this kids’ cookbook and really love it:
Learn How to Cook
So now that you understand WHY kids should learn to cook, you need to teach them how to cook.
But, what if you can’t cook?
Or, what if you hate cooking (or don’t have time for planning out meals)?
Today, there are so many ways for your kids to learn how to cook that will put your time and planning at a minimum (and may even allow you to take a more hands-off approach depending on your child’s age).
One of the ways your kids can learn how to cook is by cooking videos for kids. There are so many great “how to” videos online now that your kids can use them and learn to cook for free!
And, they’ll enjoy a ton of kids cooking videos (by kids, for kids) on YouTube!
Kids Learn How to Cook #2: Get Fun Cookbooks
Have you looked at cookbooks lately? These ain’t your grandma’s cookbooks now. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but they may be a little dry for kids.)
Cookbooks are fun now and engaging for kids. Many are simple enough for kids to follow and also take the planning off of your TO DO list.
Check these out these kids cookbooks:
Kids Learn How to Cook #3: Start with Food Science
If your kid is skeptical about cooking (or not even interested), then start with some food science. (I mean, who doesn’t love getting messy with some science experiments, right?)
Do some fun food experiments and then work your way up to cooking recipes together.
Kids Learn How to Cook #4: Use Cooking Apps
Cooking apps on your tablet are super helpful in learning how to cook. Just search “cooking apps [your device]” to find how to cook apps for your tablet, computer, or phone.