Cooking with children during the holiday

Valuable tips on how to cook with your children this holiday season.

The holiday season is a good time for parents to cook with their children. Families can utilize their time off from work and school to reconnect with each other by cooking together and teaching valuable skills like cooking. Michigan State University Extension recommends that children always have adult supervision present in the kitchen when they are cooking. Children like the sense of helping out in the kitchen, learning how food is put together, following a recipe and making food taste good. Parents can use the following kitchen tips with their children this holiday season:

Safety precautions

  • To be safe, cover a few ground rules before getting started in the kitchen. Teach kids to wash their hands with warm, soapy water while singing two choruses of "Happy Birthday" to kill all germs. Review kitchen equipment, hot stove, safe kitchen utensils, etc.

Teaching basics

  • To begin cooking, teach your child the basics, such as cracking an egg or gathering the ingredients for a favorite holiday recipe. Convey to your child the importance of measuring the correct amount of each ingredient and the different types of utensils you need to use.

Look whose cooking!

To keep your children enthusiastic about cooking, assign tasks of a holiday recipe they are able to prepare based on their abilities. Here are some ideas depending on your child's age:

  • Five and six year olds: Stir instant pudding, snap green beans, prepare lettuce for a salad, press cookie cutters, and pour liquids into batter.
  • Seven and eight year olds: Rinse vegetables, shuck corn, mix and shake ingredients, beat eggs or measure dry ingredients as well.
  • Nine and ten year olds: knead bread dough, stir hot mixtures, blend batters, broil foods in toaster oven and cut foods with a table knife.
  • Children age ten and older: Slice or chop vegetables, boil potatoes, microwave foods, bake foods in the oven, simmer ingredients on the stove.

By following these simple cooking tips for when preparing food with your children, you can help them become skillful with meal preparation and cooking. Who knows you may develop your very own junior chef.  

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