Teaching children how to cook will help them develop healthy eating habits early in life. Other benefits of parents and kids cooking together include spending more time together and participating to work as a team. Cooking with kids helps them learn math, science, and reading, as well as learn how to measure, count, and read new symbols. Cooking gives them something to be proud of and is a way for them to build self-confidence. 

Cooking skills for kids 

Children develop cooking skills at different rates. Introduce them to skills that match their ability level. Be patient as your child learns new skills.

  • Stir ingredients together
  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Tear lettuce to make a salad
  • Add ingredients to a bowl
  • Measureingredients
  • Set the table
  • Beat ingredients with a wire wisk
  • Use a butter knife to cut soft foods like bananas
  • Use a can opener
  • Use a microwave oven
  • Prepare simple recipes
  • Use an oven with supervision
  • Use a sharp knife with supervision
  • Use grater to shred ingredients

Cooking safely

  • Before cooking, have children wash hands, protect clothing, and tie long hair back
  • Read through recipe and get out all ingredients and utensils
  • Use a cutting board, not the kitchen counter, for cutting and slicing
  • Clean up any spills right away with soap and washcloth
  • Use potholders to handle pots, pans, or anything hot form the stove or microwave
  • Turn handles of sauce pans on the stove towards the counter to prevent burns or spills
  • Assist children in using electric or gas appliances
  • Help children use knives. Teach them to always hold the knife with the blade away from themselves and never to play with knives
  • When finished, help children wash all dirty dishes and counter tops, refrigerate food, and return everything to its place

Getting started

  • First, break down tasks into steps
  • Show your child how to do the step then let them practice
  • Don't expect perfection
  • Be patient and allow extra time as they learn new skills



A white plate with two bananas on popsicle sticks, covered in yogurt and chopped nuts.

Kid-friendly snack ideas

Cut cheese and cooked meat into cubes or small pieces. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, or other vegetables you have on hand. Have children connect cubes with toothpicks to build their own creations.

Dip stick pretzels into peanut butter and construct a house or piece of abstract art.

Cut bananas into bite size pieces. Spear with toothpick and dip in low-fat yogurt or spread with peanut butter. Roll in whol egrain cereal and freese until hard.

Toast frozen whole grain waffle in toaster. Cut in half and spread half with peanut butter and jelly. Top with second half.

Spread peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla. Place a banana in the middle. Roll up and slice.

Make a banana split with banana, low-fat yogurt, and whole grain cereal.

Featured Recipes

Ants or Bugs on a Log

Wash celery and cut into two pieces for logs.Fill center with nut butter. Top with raisins or cereal tocreate ants or bugs.


Baked Chicken Nuggets

Preheat oven to 375°F. Collect, cut, and measure all ingredients beforestarting to prepare the recipe. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Mix egg, milk, and salt with fork in a small bowl. Place corn flakes in a sealable plastic bag, seal, andcrush into tiny bits. Dip chicken pieces in the beaten egg and milk mixture,then drop the chicken pieces into the plastic bag ofcornflakes and seal. Shake to coat evenly. Place nuggets in a single layer on the baking sheet. 8) Bake 10 minutes. Check for doneness and continuebaking if needed. Nuggets are done when they are golden brown and have no pink on the inside when cut open.Serve hot with ketchup of barbeque sauce. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. Eat within 3 to 5days.

 baked chx