Getting kids in the kitchen is always a good idea. In theory kids, even toddlers, can help make anything. Chopping, peeling, stirring, whisking etc are all good jobs to keep little fingers busy. Here are some of our favourite easy recipes for kids to cook at home.
What jobs can kids do when cooking at home?
In theory kids can do anything - and with practice they'll only get better at it.
What jobs you might choose to make with your kids will depend to an extent on a few things - such as their age, their interest levels and how much time/patience you have.
Toddlers can help with stirring, chopping (ideally with a kid safe knife) and whisking. Spooning cake mixture into cupcake cases is always popular as is decorating with icing and sprinkles.
Slightly older kids can also help with more advanced jobs such as weighing out ingredients, stirring pans or setting timers.
Cooking provides lots of opportunities to work on both fine motor skills and maths skills.
Not to mention learning how to feed themselves - an invaluable life skill.
Even making toast is a good lesson
Even something as simple as making toast and spreading toppings on is a good opportunity to learn to feed themselves. My kids started using the toaster at around age 7 - before that you can do the toasting part and let them have a go at spreading.
But it's just so messy
Yes, cooking with kids can be messy. This is especially true with toddlers!
Some people just embrace the mess and get on with it. If you find this harder you might find the following points useful:
- weigh out all the ingredients and get all equipment ready before you start
- get the kids to just help with part of the recipe eg make the pizza dough yourself and let the kids decorate the pizzas themselves
- pick a good time to do it - make sure that you and the kids aren't too tired for it
- get older kids to help clean up - wiping the table, washing up, loading the dishwasher - also important life skills to learn!
- get them to help make dinner - I find that the mess is less annoying when it's resulted in a meal.
What recipes are good to make with kids?
There are always some recipes for kids to make that are particularly popular however - for example baking cakes or muffins. Bread making is also popular here.
Soda bread is a good place to start if you want something quick and easy.
My kids do always enjoy kneading dough though, so if you've got a day at home without many plans then making pizza dough, a loaf of bread or breadsticks is a good project.
Healthier cornflake cakes
Cornflake cakes are a classic kid recipe. My recipe is healthier than most but still delicious and easy enough for the kids to make with minimal help. An adult should melt the chocolate as it gets very hot. You can also make this recipe with rice krispies.
My eight year old daughter can make banana bread singlehandedly now, with no help from me. Apart from putting it in the oven - I still do that part.
Vegan fairy cakes
One to use up all those sprinkles you have stashed away in your baking cupboard. These vegan vanilla-flavoured fairy cakes aren't a healthy option but they're small, so good for kids, and really delicious.
Apple cinnamon cookies
This recipe is perfect for when you want a quick sweet treat that's on the healthier side. Sweetened with apples and raisins, and maple syrup if you like, these are a great one for kids to make.
Baked pumpkin doughnuts
You will need a doughnut mould to make these - but you can use the same recipe and make in muffin cases if you don't have one. Sometimes we drizzle writing icing and sprinkles over these too.
These healthy carrot muffins are packed full of nutritious ingredients and taste fantastic. Plus you can make them in one bowl so save on the washing up!
Energy balls are really fun for kids to make - they love getting their hands sticky and rolling out the mixture. I have a lot of different energy ball recipes here on Sneaky Veg but a particular favourite here are these pink raspberry and almond balls. A great fun recipe for kids to make.
Another favourite for my kids - simply a case of spread sauce, sprinkle cheese, roll, chill, chop and bake! A great easy recipe for kids to make.
This is one of my favourite recipes for kids to cook. Quesadilla are so easy to adapt. You may want to do the actual cooking part but let the kids chop up the fillings, grate the cheese and assemble their own quesadilla.
I love this recipe as even little kids can make it themselves. It's simply a case of spreading a wrap with cream cheese or hummus and adding the fillings before rolling up. Slightly older kids can help with chopping up the veggies too. Just above the recipe you'll find instructions for how to fold a wrap too.
Carrot soda bread rolls
These healthy bread rolls can be made in around 10 minutes (plus 30 minutes baking time) and are delicious served alongside soup.
Another easy idea to make with wraps. My ones are made with avocado, hummus and lettuce but you can let the kids choose their own fillings and make their own pinwheels.
Sweet potato flatbreads
My kids love making their own flatbreads - they turn out all different shapes and sizes but they always taste great.
Make sweet potato flatbread.
Puff pastry pizza
Puff pastry can be used in so many delicious ways. This is one of our favourites. Simply spread with tomato sauce, sprinkle over grated cheese and oregano and bake.
I made these with a group of toddlers at a healthy meals workshop once and to everyone's amazement the toddlers all loved them. Serve with hummus, pitta and salad.
Having never willingly eaten kale before I couldn't believe how much my kids engaged with making these. But would they eat them...? Yes! They loved them and we now make kale crisps regularly.
Pink dip (beetroot hummus)
This is a great way of adding an extra portion of veg into your favourite dip - beetroot hummus is the most gorgeous colour.
Butternut squash oatcakes
A lovely easy recipe for kids to cook. They can be a tiny bit sticky to roll out so little kids might need a helping hand. They're really delicious though and only need three ingredients!
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