I have a question for you: Are you regularly cooking with kids in your home?
I’m going to be frank (and it might hurt a little, especially if you don’t like to cook):
Your kids need to learn how to cook.
Hear me out!
Not only is cooking with kids an important life skill, but learning how to cook is so beneficial for your children in MANY different ways (there’s a ton of research on cooking with kids that shows its benefits!).
(We’ll get into the benefits of cooking a little later, so be sure to READ ON!)
PIN TO SHARE
Should every child learn to cook?
Here are 9 SURPRISING reasons why kids should learn to cook and why cooking with kids is important:
- Works with any learning style.
- Helps with STEM, reading, spelling and MORE.
- Improves communication.
- Teaches nutrition and healthy eating.
- Teaches responsibility.
- Boosts confidence.
- Helps with picky eating.
- Exposes kids to different cultures.
- Improves the family bond.
(We’ll cover these points in more detail a little later in the post!)
•IN THIS POST•
In this homeschool blog post we’ll cover:
- What age should a child learn to cook?
- 9 SURPRISING Reasons Why Kids MUST Learn How to Cook
- How cooking benefits learning.
- How to Learn How to Cook with Kids (Even If You Don’t Know How!)
- Should boys learn to cook?
- 6 WAYS TO TEACH KIDS HOW TO COOK (EVEN IF YOU HATE COOKING)
What age should a child learn to cook?
(About 18 months. Really. But, don’t freak out, we did it carefully.)
It’s something she has always naturally shown interest in, so I took advantage of that.
Your child should learn to cook when they first start showing an interest in cooking or can help out in the kitchen!
Today, there are a wide range of recipes for 8 year olds to cook, recipes for preschool, recipes for beginners and MORE!
(So, don’t worry if you don’t know how to get started for your child’s age! There are plenty of how to cook with kids resources that we’ll get to later in the post, so be sure to SCROLL DOWN.)
Now that I’m homeschooling, we’ve included it as part of our regular theme lessons (in addition to what she naturally helps with anyway).
Why are we prioritizing cooking with kids as part of our homeschool curriculum?
Because it teaches kids so much—both in intellectual development and physical development!
READ ON TO LEARN MORE AND GET GREAT IDEAS . . .
DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used on this site and may be used in this post.
Please refer to our DISCLOSURE STATEMENT.
How does cooking with kids help child’s intellectual development and physical development and why is it important for kids to learn to cook?
[Don’t miss our WAYS TO TEACH KIDS HOW TO COOK (EVEN IF YOU HATE COOKING right after this section!]
PIN TO SAVE
9 SURPRISING Reasons Why Kids MUST Learn How to Cook
Here, we’re going to talk about 9 TOP reasons why cooking with kids is important.
(There are, of course, more, but we think these are the most important reasons why kids should learn to cook.)
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 my child 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! (Well have more science cooking fun ideas later.)
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 discussion.
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!
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 the 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 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 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:
(PS: My kids recently told me that she wanted to dry powdered bugs in her cooking. What???)
Learn How to Cook Benefit #9: Cooking improves family relationships.
One of the best benefits of cooking with kids is that it helps strengthen the family bond.
In our fast paced world, it’s hard to slow down and carve out family time.
Cooking together is one thing that give you more time together.
(I mean, you have to eat, right?)
And, you don’t necessarily have to cook everyday with your kids. Make Thursdays nights “Family Cooking Night” so you can plan around it every week. Or, make the third Sunday of every month “Family Brunch Day” or whatever works for your family!
Learn How to Cook with Kids (Even If You Don’t Know How!)
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 to cook together)?
We get it.
Cooking is hard and can be time-consuming.
BUT . . .
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 to cooking).
But first . . .
Should boys learn to cook?
Before we get into the specific ways can cook with kids (even if you don’t like to cook), let’s answer an important question that comes up sometimes:
Should boys learn to cook?
(YES, that question STILL comes up . . .)
And, I think you already know my answer:
YES! Boys should learn to cook!
It doesn’t matter if your child is a boy or a girl, they are still going to benefit from this life skill!
OK, now let’s get on with some ideas on how to cook with kids.
PIN TO SAVE FOR LATER
6 WAYS TO TEACH KIDS HOW TO COOK (EVEN IF YOU HATE COOKING)
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!
Learn to Cook With Kids [VIDEO]
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 children’s cookbooks are simple enough for kids to follow and also take the planning off of your TO DO list.
(And, they have cookbooks for all different ages and stages!)
Check out these kids cookbooks:
Kids Learn How to Cook #3: Start with Food Science
If your kid is skeptical about cooking (or not interested . . . even a little), then start with some food science.
(I mean, who doesn’t love getting messy with science experiments, right?)
Do some fun food experiments and then work your way up to cooking recipes together.
Kids Learn How to Cook #4: Follow A Fun Cooking with Kids Website
There are thousands of cooking websites out there, but did you know that there are many that focus solely on cooking with kids?
We have a sister site called Little Cooks Reading Books where we pair up fun books with related theme lesson cooking projects.
Come on over and check it out!
Kids Learn How to Cook #5: Use Cooking Apps
Cooking apps on your tablet or phone 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.
A great thing about those is that they often can walk your kids through exactly how to cook or prepare a dish, allowing you to take a more hands-off approach!
Kids Learn How to Cook #6: Find Some Kids Cooking Classes
If teaching kids to cook is not your thing, then you’re in luck!
We’re in a HOT time for cooking and it seems like a lot of children are interested in becoming chefs.
That means many businesses are looking to get in on the “kid cooking trend” and are now offering cooking classes, nutrition classes, and healthy eating classes.
DID YOU KNOW THAT PANERA BREAD OFFERS AFFORDABLE BAKERS IN TRAINING COOKING CLASSES THAT ARE PERFECT FOR YOUR HOMESCHOOL GROUP?
If you can’t find kids cooking classes that meet your needs, don’t be shy about submitting some kids cooking class ideas to your local cafes, restaurants, businesses, or grocery stores and markets.
There is a local gourmet grocery store near us who offers adult cooking classes.
A homeschool mom in our group approached that market and pitched her homeschool kids cooking class idea and now they offer a series of (very cool) cooking classes taught by the chef!