- Cooking is an important life skill.
- Reading recipes helps your child’s literacy skills.
- Measuring ingredients helps improve math skills.
- Picky eaters are more likely to try food they help make.
- Cooking is a great way to instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Little chefs can cook (with your help)
Children should start by learning basic cooking skills and build their way up. Use these age-specific guidelines to help your little chef succeed in the kitchen. Don’t forget to go over safety rules and explain what they can and cannot touch. It’s also important to show them how to safely use equipment.
Children ages 2-3 years can:
- wash fruit and vegetables
- count ingredients
- add ingredients to a bowl
- put paper liners into muffin tins
Children ages 3-4 years can:
- pour from measuring cups
- mix ingredients in a bowl
- help make a simple sandwich or pizza
- help gather ingredients
- mash sweet potatoes or bananas
Children ages 4-6 years can:
- stir ingredients together (muffins, pancakes, sauces)
- slice cooked vegetables, soft fruit, cheese, or tofu with a plastic knife
- set the table
- crack and beat an egg
Children ages 6 to 8 years can:
- use basic kitchen equipment such as a blender or can opener
- toss salad ingredients together with salad dressing
- create a smoothie
- make a simple breakfast like whole grain cereal, frozen berries, and milk
Children ages 8 to 11 years can:
- use a knife to chop cooked meat, easy-to-grip vegetables and fruit, cheese, tofu, and bread
- make and pack their school lunch
- make a fresh veggie or fruit platter to go with dinner
- use the microwave and stove, with your help
Ideas to inspire your little chef
- Borrow kid-friendly cookbooks from the library or search online for recipes.
- Have them check flyers for healthier foods on sale, help write the grocery list, check the fridge and cupboards, or put together a folder of favourite recipes.
- Cook with a friend for a fun play date.
- Have a cooking party for kids. Let them plan the menu, write the grocery list, shop for food and cook the meal, with your help of course!
- Explore different ways to prepare food. For example, carrots can be eaten raw, steamed, or roasted.
- Get creative with pizza night. Let everyone make their own mini pizzas by choosing colourful toppings like pineapple, red peppers, and broccoli.
- Make healthy snacks for family movie night. Flavour popcorn with oregano, cinnamon, or grated Parmesan.
- Let your kids invent a smoothie. Blend Greek yogurt or lower-fat milk with fresh or frozen fruit for a delicious and healthy treat.
- Feed your kids’ curiosity by asking them to choose a new whole grain, such as brown rice, barley or quinoa to make together.
- Get your kids excited about trying fresh herbs. Grow parsley, basil, oregano and chives and use them in your meals.