Cooking projects for children provide a bonding experience for the entire family. Cooking activities teach children how to follow directions, understand measurements and stick with an project. Invite the kids into the kitchen at meal and snack time to get them accustomed to the kitchen safety rules. Special cooking projects encourage the kids to take an active role in the process.
Picture Book Recipes
Combining popular children’s books with cooking creates an educational and exciting activity for kids. Many picture books lend themselves well to a cooking follow-up activity. “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “Stone Soup” are just a few ideas to get you started. Find a recipe that relates to the food-themed children’s book. After reading the picture book together, head to the kitchen to create the meal. For further educational fun, take pictures of your child making the dish. Use those photos to create your own homemade picture book.
Eating out at a restaurant is expensive and often stressful with young children. Help your children create a restaurant at home for a fun cooking project. Browse through children’s cookbooks to find simple recipes for the meal. Work together to create a grocery list for the recipes so the kids see the entire process of preparing a meal. Create simple menus featuring the meal as the special of the day. A large piece of folded construction paper works well for the menu. This cooking activity also allows the kids to learn how to set a table, prepare an entire meal and put the food on plates to create an attractive presentation.
Cake decorating projects encourage kids to use their creative talents in an edible format. Let the kids help out with mixing up the cake batter and pouring it into the pans. After the cakes are cooled, teach them how to ice and decorate the cake. Place icing tinted with food coloring in pastry bags for decorating purposes. To prevent the icing from coming out the top, use a heat sealer to close the end of the pastry bag after the icing is inside. Let the kids experiment with different icing tips and decorating elements such as fondant.
Themed Cooking Nights
Call on your creativity to plan themed cooking nights for the kids. Ideas for the themes include ethnic cuisine, appetizers or breakfast for dinner. Make the meals fun and ask for input from the kids. This idea allows the entire family to try dishes you may not normally eat. Let the kids assist in selecting and cooking the recipes that fit the theme. For added fun, make centerpieces or other decorations that fit the theme. For example, a Mexican fiesta theme night might include sombreros and maracas as table decorations.