Cooking with Kids


Cooking with your kids helps them try new foods. When you cook, let your kids put their hands in the bowl and get a little messy. Then you can teach them that cleaning up is a part of cooking. If you’re spending time together in the kitchen, you’re going to have fun.

Mom tip

“My kids love pancakes and fruit. On Saturday morning, we combine them to make pancake animals. Sliced fruit is a great topping to make eyes, ears, and mouths.”


Kitchen Safety

Make your kitchen a safe zone:

  • Always have children wash their hands before they touch food.
  • Never leave a child alone in the kitchen when the stove is on.
  • Don’t hold a child while you are at the stove, using a knife, or handling hot items.
  • When you cook on the stove, turn the handles of pans away from you to prevent spills and burns.
  • Stay close to the stove when you are cooking. It doesn’t take long for food to burn and even start a fire.
  • Never set hot dishes close to the edge of a counter or table.
  • Don’t leave towels and oven mitts lying near the stove top.
  • Keep a first aid kit handy. Every cook gets minor cuts and burns from time to time.

Cooking Skills By Age

What can your child do in the kitchen? Lots, if you work together! 

2-5 years

  • Spreading peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches
  • Mixing batter
  • Tearing up lettuce
  • Adding spices
  • Snapping peas and beans
  • Cutting soft fruits with a butter knife
  • Mashing potatoes

6-8 years

  • Whisking eggs
  • Opening cans
  • Grating cheese
  • Frying or scrambling eggs 
  • Grilling cheese sandwiches
  • Reading the recipe
  • Rolling out dough

9-12 years

  • Using the stove and oven with an adult
  • Cutting vegetables
  • Baking muffins
  • Cooking soup
  • Roasting vegetables
  • Making their own lunches

13-16 years

  • Preparing harder recipes
  • Helping with weekly meal plans 
  • Helping with grocery shopping

Recipe Ideas!

Have a kid who likes to cook? Check out these simple, healthy recipes.


Salad Dressing Science Lab

Try letting your children create their own salad dressing! They can make it taste salty, sour, sweet, or spicy. 

Step 1. Make your base.

Salad dressing is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Let your child measure the ingredients. You can use olive oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Try different kinds of vinegar, or try using lemon juice.

Step 2. Add other flavors.

Ask your kids what flavor they want the dressing to have. Keep tasting it until it makes them happy.

Try adding:

  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chopped garlic
  • Spices such as oregano, thyme, basil, or parsley

Step 3. Shake it up.

Have your child mix the dressing and pour it over a salad. Enjoy!

If They Made It, They’ll Eat It

Kids are more likely to eat food they have helped make. Try something easy, like this breakfast fruit cup.