Cooking with Kids: Basic Cooking Skills for Kids of All Ages

Cooking with Kids: Basic Cooking Skills for Kids of All AgesIf there’s a blog post I can get behind, it might be this one right here! Now, I love working in the education field and writing all of the posts that go along with it, but outside of that, cooking is a true hobby of mine. I also believe that it’s a hobby anyone can enjoy and even, dare I say, master! This includes children of almost any age. Not only does cooking provide an abundance of learning opportunities, but it also provides people with a real-life skill that they can use almost every single day of their lives. Keep reading to see some basic cooking skills your child can begin no matter how old he or she is. Bon Appétit!

Cooking with Toddlers:

It’s true! There are kitchen skills even your youngest can begin learning. Some of these tasks include the following:

  • helping you wash produce
  • stirring
  • mashing
  • scooping

Cooking with Preschoolers:

Preschoolers should be able to handle a little more in the kitchen (or at least as much as your patience allows!). Besides being able to help you with anything above, they can also try…

  • helping you weigh ingredients
  • beginning to help you cut soft ingredients with a safe, strong, plastic knife
  • beginning to help spread ingredients
  • tearing produce
  • prepping produce (e.g. shelling beans and picking grapes)

Cooking with 5-7 Year Olds

Children in this age range are usually thrilled to help in the kitchen. Take advantage of that! Skills appropriate for this age include…

  • beginning to cut with a small knife
  • cutting with kitchen scissors
  • grating
  • measuring
  • preparing cake trays
  • peeling simple items (e.g. oranges)
  • setting the table

Cooking with Older Elementary Students (around 8-11 years of age):

This is a great age for children to almost fully begin sharing the cooking responsibility in your household. Lucky you! Have your child try…

  • meal planning
  • grocery list making
  • putting away and retrieving ingredients
  • following simple recipes
  • making a side salad
  • measuring
  • whisking
  • peeling
  • opening cans
  • operating the microwave and stove (with supervision if necessary)

Cooking with Teenagers (and Pre-Teens)

If you’ve always wanted a live-in chef, it could be that you already have one in the form of your teenager! This age should be able to handle most cooking tasks, and they might also enjoy beginning to learn and collect favorite recipes for when they are adults. Some extra ideas to try with this age are…

  • recipe multiplying and dividing
  • learning about all kitchen appliances and how to properly care for them
  • following recipe instructions properly
  • helping with cooking meals in the household

Et voilà! With these skills, every member of your family can begin learning how to master cooking. Why not try cooking a meal together as a family once a week? It might seem daunting at first, but as your family masters the skills, it will become easier with time, and you can be happy about the fact that your children are learning skills that certainly won’t go to waste!

What do you think? Do your children have an interest in cooking? What cooking skills have your children mastered? What are your never-fail family recipes? We would love to hear from you in the comments!

Author: Emily Karth, Writer and Teacher at A Grade Ahead.

*Some aspects of this list have been adapted from bbcgoodfood.com: “A Guide to Cookery Skills by Age”

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