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Parents of Young Children: Activities to Introduce Your Children to Cooking

Most parents tend to keep their children out of the kitchen while preparing meals, but many experts and parents alike say that it’s more useful to introduce children to cooking at an early age. Two articles I have found explain the advantages of cooking with kids and teaching them about nutrition. I have also included 3 cooking activities for you and your children to try!

Cooking together is not only an opportunity for you and your child to enjoy quality time together, but it is also a fun and insightful way for your child to try different and nutritious foods. This is especially helpful if you have a picky eater because they may be more willing to eat foods they helped create.

In the article, Why Cook with Kids?, author Julie Negrin says that spending time in the kitchen can give children confidence and teach responsibility. When children are part of the cooking process with nutritious foods, Negrin says that kids can develop a mature palate and will be less likely to crave processed foods. Introducing cooking at an early age will allow children to learn basic cooking skills, which will be essential later in life.

In the article titled A Guide to Cookery Skills by Age the author categorizes cooking activities you can do with your child depending on their age. For children under 3, the article suggests washing vegetables, stirring room temperature ingredients, and spooning ingredients into scales. For children aged 3-5, some activity suggestions are kneading, cutting soft ingredients (such as fruit) with a plastic knife, and using a pestle and mortar (the article recommends a light wooden one instead of a heavy one). Activities for children aged 5-7 get slightly more complex, such as measuring (a great introduction to basic math), cutting herbs with children’s scissors, and greasing and lining a cake tin or tray.

Here are 3 cooking activities to try with your child:

The more cooking experience children gain, the more it will benefit them as they grow older. Their confidence in the kitchen will enhance their ability to try new recipes and experiment cooking with new foods. As you and your child cook together, they will develop an understanding of nutrition and how healthy foods can be prepared!


Lyndsey Watkins is a senior at UNCW. She is majoring in English with a concentration in professional writing and a minor in journalism.


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