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How to make learning to cook fun for kids

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Fun in the kitchen

You spend a big part of your day cooking, so why not get your kids in on the act? Make it fun for them, and you’ll have a sidekick for your kitchen adventures. It’s a great skill for your kids to learn, and a fun way for the two of you to spend time together.

Mom and daughter cooking

It's not always easy to find things to do with your kids. Why not get them involved in something you do every day? Teach your kids to cook and they'll have a skill they can put to use throughout their lives. The key to keeping them interested is making sure they have fun while they learn. Put these tips to use and they'll be whipping up dinner with you in no time flat!

Why kids should be in the kitchen >>

1Start simple

If you overwhelm your kids right from the start with complicated recipes, you might end up scaring them away. Instead, start simple. If your kids are young, let them add ingredients, push buttons on the microwave or wash off fruits and vegetables. After they've mastered those tricks, let them measure dry ingredients or handle simple utensils.

Fun kitchen tools for kids >>

Older kids can begin making simple meals. Teach them how to make easy sandwiches, boil pasta or mash potatoes.

2Get messy

Kids love to get their hands dirty, and learning to cook is no exception. Let your kids separate eggs with their fingers and use their hands to form cookie dough or spread out a pie crust. Teaching them to dive right in and get a feel for the gooey fun will show youngsters that cooking can be a good time. Remember that messes are a part of cooking, even for adults, but those messes are going to be much bigger when kids are in the kitchen. Don't stress about it, just have fun. And make sure you teach those kiddos how to clean up, as well!

3Be creative

Learning to follow a recipe is important, but that can come later. When kids are first learning to cook, encourage them to be creative. They'll have more fun, and they'll learn that cooking is more than just following directions – which no kid likes to do! Start by letting small children stack their own sandwiches or put their own toppings on a pizza. Let older kids brainstorm new ingredients to add to a dish.

Make cooking fun! >>

Keep in mind that just because your child doesn't do something the way you might doesn't make it wrong. If the sandwich is ready to topple or the pizza toppings aren't evenly spread out, resist the urge to fix it! Correcting those things will only show your children they didn't do it well enough. Let it be and show them how proud you are of what they've come up with. If they're confident in their abilities, they'll likely want to take another stab at it.

More fun in the kitchen at Sheknows

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