Teach Children How To Cook

Personal sharings of Chef Peter Pang on How To Lead Your Child To Healthy Eating

Posts Tagged ‘health’

How to Start Teaching Your Kids to Cook with Kid’s Recipes

Posted by Peter Pang on August 30, 2008

Hmmm, How to start is oh, so familiar. It is the hardest part, just like writing a book.  How to start teaching your kids to cook is very simple. Go to a bookshop and buy a nice, colourful cookbook for kids. Read on and you will soon find out how you can start teaching your kids to cook.

“A recipe is a series of step-by-step instructions for preparing ingredients you often forgot to buy, utensils that you don’t own and a dish the dog won’t eat the rest of even with much persuasion.”


            Teaching your kids to cook not only creates memories for your whole family, but it also gives your children important lifetime skills. Skills such as cooking can give your child a whole lifetime of enjoyment, and best of all, she would know what food is good and bad for her. These valuable lessons are seldom taught in the classroom so your kitchen is the best place to turn your child into a little chef. Learning to cook leads to learning other skills, such as menu planning, basic nutrition and grocery shopping. Cooking can be educational as kids feel very special when they are allowed to help out in the kitchen. In fact, cooking is a great educational tool for children. Working in the kitchen involves several valuable skills important to child development. Your child will benefit at:  


  • Improving hand-eye coordination and reading skills
  • Planning a series of steps in a process
  • Using mathematical skills to measure out ingredients
  • Timing the time required to cook food
  • Reading and interpreting written instructions in recipes
  • Expanding their creative boundaries
  • Mastering teamwork when cooking with adults


This is How You Start. Ask your children what they want to learn to cook. Asking them this question will give them control and lead to enthusiasm for helping in the kitchen. Naturally they will choose the food they like to eat, such as fried chicken, fish and chips, nuggets, burgers, cookies or muffins. By allowing them to help in the process of preparing food, it will help foster family bonding and they will be more than willing to try some new foods in the future. Cooking requires learning many skills. Below is a list of skills based on ages that will help guide you to determine what your child can do in the kitchen. This is just a general rule. No one knows your child better than you do, so make adjustments based on your child’s abilities.


Age 3 to 6: Children as young as three can help out in the kitchen. Teach them how to set the table – this will help them learn left from right. I have seen adults who are sometimes confused with which is left and which is right! Your child can also be taught to fold napkins and fill a bread basket. This is also a good age to teach them how to measure ingredients. Teach them how to wash fruits and vegetables, pour measured liquids into a bowl, stir fry ingredients, tear up lettuce leaves, open packages, get ingredients out of the fridge. Ask them to help peel bananas or oranges. They are also able to mash and stir ingredients. And let them learn to use a knife by letting them cut soft foods with a dull knife.


“Parents are a lousy cook if your kids get even with the school bully by inviting him over for dinner.”


Age 6 to 8: Children at this age can help in planning what to cook for the day. They enjoy mixing cookie dough and dropping it onto cookie sheets, and preparing cake or muffin batter. With your help in explaining and guiding, your kids will be able to prepare simple recipes such as sandwiches, salads, dips and no-bake desserts. They can begin to work at the range or stove, stirring sauces, flipping pancakes and french toasts, scrambling eggs and taking things out of the oven. Kids need to stand on a sturdy stool to safely work at the range. Parents should be at close range to monitor and I would suggest you get your kitchen an induction cooker as it’s safer for children to use.


Age 9 to 12: Older kids can read recipes, measure ingredients, mix batter and handle more of the cooking themselves. They are more independent as they have learnt how to follow a recipe. Your kids can open cans, use a microwave (with adult supervision), turn on the oven to the desired temperature, shred cheese and vegetables.


Age 13 and above: By now, children who have had the opportunity to work with an adult in the kitchen should have the skills and confidence for independent cooking. Omelets, salad, cakes, burgers and cookies are all within their capabilities.


“A geography teacher was lecturing on map reading. After explaining about latitude, longitude, degrees and minutes, the teacher asked, ‘If I asked you to meet me for lunch at 25 degrees, 3 minutes north latitude and 45 degrees, 16 minutes east longitude, can you find the place?’ After a long silence, one of the students answered, ‘I guess you will be eating alone’.”


Children can develop confidence by being able to complete certain tasks on their own. If you let them do things you know they can do successfully, then by allowing your child to help you make things in the kitchen can be a great boost to their self-esteem. Cooking with your children can be fun if you take advantage of the skills they have and the things they can do to make your job easier. I am very proud of my daughter, for she can cook her favourite dishes all by herself, and I still remember how she kept on cooking and serving the same food for the entire family day after day. Deep inside my heart I know my daughter felt the joy and sense of accomplishment within her that encouraged her to continue to learn how to cook.


Extra tips: Children are happy and proud of the dishes they can prepare. Help them to collect their recipes in a cookbook of their own. Take photos of the finished dish and put them together in a notebook. Invest in a computer cookbook programme Cook’n Recipe Softwarefor the entire family as it can teach computer and design skills as well. You can shop for a good children’s cookbook with your kids in bookstores. There are tons of them. Let your child choose and observe her favourite choices and start from there.


“Fantastic new diet formula: You are guaranteed to loose weight and you can eat anything you want and as much as you want with this miracle diet. Let me tell you what to do:

                                               ”JUST DON’T SWALLOW ANYTHING!!”








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