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Fun Food to Cook with Preschoolers, Children: Kids Cooking

Updated on November 14, 2010

Kids Cooking

Cooking is probably one of the most useful, fun, educational and enjoyable activities you can do with kids of just about any age group. What I personally found especially helpful is that when I'm out of ideas on what to do with my 3-year-old (she has yet to master the skills to concentrate on anything for more than 10 minutes or entertain herself) and I really don't want to just sit her in front of the TV, I resort to cooking with my daughter. It works wonders as the activity takes up the time and we get to bond and have fun. My little girl simply loves "helping out" in the kitchen, although at this age, a lot of supervision is required which can make cooking a little unnerving. The trick then is to stick to simple recipes that do not require a lot of time to prepare.

Kids Cooking

How is Cooking with Children Educational and Beneficial?

What do kids learn from cooking? Lots of things! They learn the names for the ingredients and utensils used in cooking. There are always interesting food names like asparagus, parsnip and pumpernickel. Spice names are even more fun and exotic: cayenne pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Utensils and cooking methods are wonderfully fascinating as well. There's the whisk, spatula, and colander, for instance. To make something, you can sift, marinade, baste and knead. Cooking can also enforce other areas of learning such as making alphabet or animal-shaped cookies for preschoolers, baking little gingerbread men upon reading the fairy tale "Gingerbread Man" or conduct a science experiment by making an erupting volcano jello - and eat it. For older kids, cooking also offers math lessons. Kids learn to measure and read amounts called for by the recipes as well as fractions (halves, quarters) and portions.

Cooking is also a highly sensory experience. Food comes in all kinds of textures, flavors, aromas and shapes. Bitter gourds are bright green and bumpy; Kiwis have soft fuzzy brown skin and emerald green flesh with little black seeds neatly arranged in a circle when cut in half. And what could be more fun for preschoolers than to mix the batter, knead the dough, cut shapes using cookie cutters and finally lick the bowl and their fingers clean.

Kids making chocolate chip muffins

What food to enjoy with kids

The following are fun snack foods you can enjoy with your kids.  Most requires very little preparation while some require a bit of imagination, but they will surely be a big hit with your little ones!

1. Chocolate fountain

Invest in a small chocolate fountain and watch your kids' faces light up with delight at the sight of a frothing chocolate fountain! Popular foods for dipping include, for example, marshmallows, bananas, strawberries (just about any fresh fruit really), cookies, and crackers. Better yet, have your kids come up with creative and unconventional ideas on what food items to use!

2. Cheese fondue

Cheese is a favorite with lots of kids and can make just about any vegetable taste better! Common food to dip in cheese fondue includes bread cubes, hard veggies like broccoli, baby carrots and cauliflower, pretzels, apples, fries and potato wedges, sausages. The possibilities are endless and kids can have fun experimenting with different foods.

3. Griddle cakes, pancakes, flap jacks

As one of the most popular American breakfast/brunch, why not let your kids help out in the kitchen on a lazy Sunday morning next time? Basic ingredients for pancakes usually consist of just flour, baking powder, milk and butter, though you could jazz it up with other spices and ingredients that you can either put ON or IN them. Experiment with bananas, berries, nuts, cinnamon, apples, and cream cheese.

My first Character Bento!

Not as hard as I thought!
Not as hard as I thought!

4. Food art!

Make a Christmas tree out of broccoli florets and adorn the "tree" with star-shaped carrots (use a cookie cutter); make snowmen out of mashed potatoes (use ice cream scoops to make 2 balls of mashed potatoes and pile one up on top of the other) and make eyes and buttons with peas; or shape hamburger patties into a face and make hair with parboiled spinach.  This is where you let your imagination go wild and creative juices flow!

So next time you're out of ideas on how to keep your children busy, entertained or occupied, take them into your kitchen and have fun with food!

Comments

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    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 

      6 years ago from MA

      Fun hub! I often bake with my kids - it's so much fun to let them add ingredients and mix the batter, but I also want to do more with having them help cook. I'll definitely try the fondue idea!

    • FordeAhern profile image

      FordeAhern 

      6 years ago from Broadford, Co. Limerick. ireland

      Lovely hub. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.

    • camdjohnston12 profile image

      camdjohnston12 

      7 years ago

      WOw, this is very interesting hub. I really like it.

    • Arlecchino profile image

      Arlecchino 

      7 years ago from Top of the Cloud

      I think kids will love cooking this way that you described! Great tips. Thumb up!

    • Anolinde profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Simmons 

      7 years ago from Niigata

      Thanks for the comment, DjBryle. Very glad you enjoyed the hub and hoping you and your son have loads of fun cooking together! :)

    • DjBryle profile image

      DjBryle 

      7 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

      I love this hub! I am going to try all these with my 3 year old son. Thanks for sharing! =)

    • Anolinde profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Simmons 

      8 years ago from Niigata

      Thanks, KoffeeKlatch. Hmm .. I thought I had already replied to you, but the comment isn't showing. Anyway, yes, the food art and/or decorating a lunch box is a lot of fun. I really hope more people try it! :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love your tips and suggestions. I cook with a class of Intellectually Disabled students as part of their curriculum. Cooking is beneficial in many ways, it incorporated math, reading, fine motor coordination and many other areas. I especially love the food art section. What fun that mst be for the kids to create.

    • Anolinde profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Simmons 

      8 years ago from Niigata

      Thanks for your comment, Maggie :) I haven't heard about gardening with kids making them love fresh veggies, but it makes a lot of sense to me! I totally agree with your last sentence. My own mom never cooked and as an adult now, I feel like I've missed out on a lot, so I am trying extra hard to give my daughter a more or less "normal" childhood, and I'm making cooking/baking together a part of it. So far, so very good! :)

    • Maggie Elaine profile image

      Maggie Elaine 

      8 years ago

      Love your article! I agree that getting kids to cook is a great idea. Just as it is a proven fact that kids that help in gardens seem to love to eat fresh vegetables. My kids always loved to come in the kitchen and mix up cookies and fun dishes. It makes an impression on children and gives them memories and experiences that will last them a life time.

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