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10 Benefits of Cooking & Cooking Role Play

February 17th, 2015 | Posted by Boggle in Bigjigs Toys | Cooking & Roleplay

It might require a fair bit of preparation and clearing up afterwards, but there’s no denying that most children love to have some creative fun in the kitchen or engage in imaginative play with pretend foods.  We’ve summarised 10 top reasons why this sort of play is so important to a child’s development.

1) Boosting social skills

Youngsters engaged in imaginative cooking play are likely to engage in discussion about what they are doing, observe what other play mates decide to ‘cook’ and share the ingredients or utensils they are using.

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2) Improving vocabulary and reading skills

Whether it’s reading the recipe or the name of ingredients, cooking play provides ample opportunities to practise basic reading skills. With each new ingredient they can extend their vocabulary and consolidate this knowledge by using the ingredient for a specific purpose.

3) Practising numeracy skills

Weighing out ingredients, counting eggs, measuring sugar, such processes compound a youngster’s understanding of mathematics. Simple addition, subtraction and even division can also be practised once the cookies/pizza/cupcakes are removed from the oven – real or otherwise!

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4) Developing time telling

Cooking with children is a great chance for them to practise telling the time, whether it’s at a very basic level of working out when the food went in to the oven, to working out how long it needs to cook for and therefore when they should check to see if it’s ready.

5) Learning through sensory play

Kneading, mixing, tasting, smelling, watching bread rise, these sorts of activities provide new experiences through sensory actions. Exercising each of their senses will allow them to maximise their learning potential.

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6) Sparking creativity

We may not approve of the ingredients they mix in to a salad/add as a pizza topping/stick on top of a cupcake but the process allows them to experiment with ingredients and flavours and simply have some control over the end result. Role play cooking with pretend ingredients is particularly useful for allowing very young chefs to go wild without the mess!

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7) Tempting a fussy eater

An ordinarily fussy eater may well be more tempted to try a new dish or ingredient if they have prepared it themselves or placed it on their own plate. Obviously this is not so desirable if the dish they’ve prepared is made from salt dough or plasticine!

8) Making sense of the world

Discussing where an ingredient has come from, why they need to be cooked in a specific way and why some foods are better for us than others, are just some areas of discussion that help children improve their general understanding of the world around them. It can also help establish the foundations of a healthy eating attitude.

9) Satisfaction of completing a process

Seeing the cooking process through from beginning to end creates immense satisfaction and a confidence-boosting exercise for any youngster. Having read the recipe, literally got their hands dirty mixing the ingredients and endured the wait before seeing (and sampling) the end result, is bound to make any budding young chef pretty proud.

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10) Wide age range applicability

Cooking and role play cooking are fun, educational experiences for a broad age spectrum of children. Preschoolers can master a simple recipe with adult help and steadily progress on to more complicated recipes. It’s also a great activity to enjoy as a family.

Bigjigs Toys offer a wide selection of cooking role play toys, from kitchen appliances to role play food and baking sets – all available to purchase from our website

 

COMPETITION

Do you enjoy cooking with your child/children? Share your ‘cooking with children’ tips with us and be entered in to our competition to win a Bigjigs cooking role play bundle worth over £40, comprising:

Young Chef’s Baking Set
Fruit in a Net (33 pieces)
Cutting Vegetables Set

Comments must be posted by midnight on 19.02.15.  On 20.02.15 the author of one cooking tip will be selected at random and announced here on our Big Blog and on our Facebook page. Full Terms and Conditions can be found here

**COMPETITION WINNER: HEIDI BROWN**

Congratulations Heidi, we’ll email you to arrange delivery of your prize.

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117 Responses

  • sandy says:

    get everything ready before letting them in the kitchen!!

  • Expect a lot of mess! Baking/cooking is a messy business anyway but when kids are involved there’ll be even more! I always secure a plastic tablecloth over our table and we all wear aprons. At the end of the day, you’ll all have more fun if you just let the mess happen and then clear up together at the end whilst your homemade goodies as in the oven or waiting to set!

  • I always enjoy making cupcakes with my children who are 9, 6 and 2 I bake the buns and they enjoy decorating them

  • Flora Gibbons says:

    Try not to step in too often, let them have a proper go at whatever you’re doing and worry about the mess later!

  • sophiapayne says:

    I admit that I both like and dislike when Willow wants to ‘help’ in the kitchen. We have such a small space to work with that I usually just want to get in and out as quickly as possible, but there is no way I would deny her the chance to see what’s going on. I love that she is so passionate about food, and we’ve made it work by bringing things out to the living room table so she has more space to experiment without getting too much in the way. If anyone else is struggling with a small kitchen, bring a bowl or chopping board with a selection of ingredients and let them help prep in a bigger room.

  • sue hodges says:

    my son loved cooking cakes and cookies. To start with i would preweigh all the ingredients so he just needed to add and mix as the weighing bit was ‘boring’ As he liked being able to crack the eggs open i always made sure that these were broken into individual ramekins first so that we could fish out any bits of egg shells before adding to the cake mix

  • Alenka says:

    They cook, when we cook. Literally. We empower our son to cook when I am cooking. I let him to play on his small table while I cut things on the table myself. I let him feel real vegetables, use lollipop sticks as a knife for him, let him use pans and saucepans in smaller size and wooden utensils to pretend he cooks. He loves it! When I boil things I let him see the water boils, see things in oven rising, or getting crispy to hear sizzling noise. Also, once everything is done, its a showtime, we all comment and talk about who did what and share the food. meal time is together. It seems to take more interest in food, food shopping and eating.

  • rominy colville says:

    I always let my daughter be involved in my cooking so she sees what goes into ‘real’ food. It helps her fine and gross motor skills and we often sneak a few mystery ingredients in – like chickpeas into cookie dough!

  • CJ says:

    Let them get messy. Talk them through every step of what you’re doing. Have fun.

  • Charlotte Burns says:

    Get them involved with the ingredients. Grow fruit and veg with them, or take them to the butchers/green grocers etc so they understand and can see what they are eating.

  • when the children prepare and “cook” the food, the whole family tastes their concoction

  • Rhi says:

    A piece of tarp or a wipeable tablecloth under/around the table allows the little ones to get creative without you having to worry so much about the mess!

  • mrshall2b says:

    let them help with meals, include them in your cooking and talk to them about food from a young age.
    we love to make chocolate chip cookies, let them get their hands dirty! my girls are 3 years old and 21 months old and both will help me count spoonfuls of things, we count the chocolate chunks as we put it in. include them in everything and they will be happy! also when you are waiting for things in the oven etc give them a time to watch for because you just cant do it without them! they will feel proud at the crucial role theyve been given and it will help teach the time!

  • Ron Goodwin says:

    Let them get their hands “dirty” by mixing ingredients.

  • Lorraine Tinsley says:

    I choose easy recipes that do not require a lot of ingredients, like today we made pancakes using the one mug method, 1 mug of milk and 1 of self raising flour, 1 egg, pinch of salt and some sugar- whisk and chuck in some blueberries! I did the cooking and she wanted to try flipping, but the pans were a bit heavy and her baby sister was around so I did that bit!! She also has a toy kitchen so when she sees us doing things she usually copies!!

  • Siobhan Davis says:

    I Take my children shopping and they have a picture shopping list then they choose and put their bits in the trolley, Then there job is to wash veg I cut up and they stir and set the table. My children get so excited about going to Tesco and love dinner time  x

  • Megan Adams says:

    My daughters play kitchen is in the kitchen so she can copy me as I cook. She often gets her dolls out and sits them round the family table, making them all food and drinks. We bake cakes together – as my daughter is getting older, she can do more things. She now practically makes them herself apart from the weighing and oven cooking.

  • Lianne Smith says:

    I find that preparation is the key. If I ask my 3 year old if he wants to do some cooking or baking he gets so eager and quite inpatient whilst I’m getting things together. I’ve now learnt to have everything out ready so he can be as independent as possible. He loves helping in the kitchen!

  • I’m a nursery teacher, and we do lots of baking. Before Christmas we picked apples from the tree growing in the nursery garden, let the children peel and chop them and watch them cook in the microwave, then they rolled out (shop bought) pastry and cut out circles to make little pies which we baked and ate for our snack.

  • Asta says:

    For younger children weigh out the ingredients before hand. With children learning numbers weight out part of the ingredients leaving a quantity number your child will recognisd for them to weigh themselves. Gradually make it harder as the get better and recognising and understanding bigger numbers.

  • A great way to peel carrots is to scrub them with a wire wool scourer. Quick and easy for kids and adults alike.

  • Debbie Hirons says:

    We have always had animal shaped food where possible, sandwiches, cakes, shepherds pie, curry and rice the list is endless. Simply take an animal shaped biscuit cutter and use it to either cut out the food or create a mould to fill and the remove, or if too runny leave it in and eat out of it like you would a ramekin or pie dish. Even my 14 year old daughter still loves having her sandwiches prepared like this – although not for school anymore!

  • Helen says:

    We are big foodies in our house. Our preschooler will often wash the veg and help cook the evening meal with me. As a result of ‘being involved’, he has a really good understanding of healthy foods vs treats and to my amazement eats EVERYTHING including kale, brussel sprouts and cherries (I don’t even eat the latter!). He loves baking cakes and using the scales has definitely helped him with his numbers. With my close assistance, he’s been using a food mixer since 18 months (we bake cakes A LOT together) and he realises that some kitchen items are dangerous and have to be treated with respect. I would encourage all parents to get baking with their kids from the moment they can sit unaided (if not before!). Feeling biscuit/scone dough between a toddler’s fingers is lovely for them. Plus, baking biscuits//scones/cakes doesn’t take much time, so it’s perfectly suited to their shorter attention span. It’s also nice for them to create a treat to share with friends & family. My son adores decorating biscuits/cakes in particular (where the ‘treat’ element really comes into play 😉 ) and it really feeds his creativity.

  • Barbara Sharp says:

    It’s easy….from the moment they can sit at a high chair or table give them some food, dough or bread to work with. Introduce cutters,colours,and decorations as soon as you can. Let them join in and have fun.

  • Cath Beard says:

    We embrace the mess! A sensory tub works brilliantly with cooking utensils, and exploring the textures of different dried foods are great for toddlers through to 6 years olds (and counting…) for inspiring independent play.
    Today we made pancakes together. It’s a great recipe for the kids to help with as the ingredients can be measured out simply- by using mugs etc- as all that matters is the equal quantities. They cook so quickly too! They were so proud of their creations, and explaining the traditions around Shrove Tuesday was a great learning opportunity.
    My daughter is getting a play kitchen for her birthday in May. 🙂

  • Catherine Thyne says:

    My son Jack loves helping to cook in the kitchen- we bake cakes and he helps measure and weigh ingredients, he helps me prepare fruit and vegetables for snack time and meals. He has a really good idea where food comes from and how it is made. However he doesnt always want to eat any of it!!!

  • alison p says:

    The kids I cook with are quite young still, so I choose fairly easy to make things and quick things because they would get bored easily. The hardest thing is the height of the worktops and them having to stretch. It makes using utensils a bit awkward. One time I laid out a tablecloth on the floor and melted some chocolate in bowls and we made crispy cakes. It was much easier for them than standing on a too-low stool at a worktop.

  • Cheryll H says:

    My children respond well to ‘growing their own’. They love cooking and eating off our allotment and are so open to trying new things because of this 🙂 They also love baking too and getting involved making edible gifts for family 🙂

  • I LOVE baking with my little one and my top tip is to let them get messy. Try not to be too hung up on the mess and just let them go for it, squirt icing on each other, throw fistfuls of flour too, it’s FUN – they are only young once and it’s important to let them enjoy themselves and make funny happy memories. Take lots of photos too, especially when they’re messy ones, they make a great addition to any family photo album! 😀

  • Pm liu says:

    My little one is too young to help me cook but she tries to help me tidy up and eat what I’ve made after

  • Chantal Baker says:

    Thank you for this article, I’ve involved my son a lot in the cooking in our house and now he seems to enjoy trying new things, and he loves making things himself. But sadly due to now having two children and less time, I haven’t been so good with my daughter. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of cooking and cooking role play, I will definitely try to get my daughter involved and hopefully she will love it too. 🙂

  • Mel Daniels says:

    Home made pizzas are a really easy, fun way to introduce your child to cooking. Just buy a ready made pizza dough and then let them go crazy with the toppings! Lay out an assortment of cheese, olives, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes etc and let them choose what they want for themselves. Healthy, messy fun that ensures they will be proud of making their own dinner!

  • Bridget Heather says:

    I bake every Friday in our house with my 5 and 2 year old and call it ‘BDF’ Baking Day Friday! It takes a lot of patience and i have learnt how to be relaxed about a bit of mess and the kids are learning to take time and not rush as that causes accidents! They are both getting really good at listening and waiting for the next step. Its sometimes hard to think of what to make next but I love baking with them.

  • lynn mitchell says:

    i have let the kids help with every meal as i feel hthey need to learn from the beginning

  • Anne Thompson says:

    Baking with kids is great, I taught my daughter how to safely handle sharp knives, and its great to teach healthy eating and about where things come from.

  • Dan Kat says:

    I have always encouraged my little girl to have an interest in food and to look and feel things like fruit and vegetables. As soon as she was old enough I bought some play food and she is learning lots of fruit and vegetable names. We love to bake cupcakes together. Mummy generally makes most of the mess and then she helps to sort out the cases and divide the mix out between them. She will be great at rolling pastry from all the practice with playdoh!

  • C Parkin says:

    I let my son help with the fun bits, such as cracking the eggs, stirring cake mixture and rolling out pastry. He likes to feel involved and I think its a good foundation to learning to cook properly when he is a bit older.

  • Don’t worry about the mess is my big tip. when your baking cakes with a 2 year old you can’t really expect all the ingredients to be weighed without some spillage! Just chill, enjoy the fun together & clean up after. I would also recommend getting them involved in washing up at the end, so that its a habit by the time they realise its not a fun activity but a ‘job’. Yes, I have to wash everything up again after, but it pays off in the long run.

  • Laura antill says:

    My hubby cooks with the children most… His best tip for when the kids are small and have short attention spans is to prepare! For instance measure out first, grease tins and preheat ovens, it will keep them engaged if there is no long processes

  • Jeneveve says:

    My daughter’s just coming up to one, so a little too young to join in with much cooking as yet, but I involve her as much as possible when preparing her food, explaining and showing her what I’m doing, so she’ll grow up understanding where it comes from.

  • Buying a childrens set is a fantastic way to get your children creative in the kitchen – as I bake I half the ingredients so that my children/nieces & nephews can also mix their own buns/cakes. That way ‘copycat’ style they can enjoy themselves in the kitchen knowong that they will still be able to enjoy cakes if all goes wrong. When pouring the mixture we have always found using a jug makes less mess than spoons too.

  • Kirsten Barthy says:

    Let them join in! Starting either be coming groceries shopping or helping in the garden to preparing and then eating. My daughter absolutely loves play cooking for her cuddly toys too.

  • Kim Newsome says:

    Don’t be afraid of mess. If you are constantly on edge about getting food everywhere, neither of you are going to enjoy it! Just go with the flow and you’ll have more fun!

  • Catherine McAlinden says:

    When they were little, I used to prepare all the ingredients so that they could just get stuck in. Now they are 3 and 5, their favourite bit is the weighing out. They love being so involved!

  • Fiona B says:

    Don’t rush, take your time angry the kids to join in step by step.

  • Kat Allinson says:

    Don’t be fussy about whether everything is done the way you would do it, it’s all about the fun of doing it together and watching them enjoy the end product 🙂

  • Jemma taylor says:

    From going food shopping to unpacking, to prepping and cooking let them do it all.

  • natalie holland says:

    My youngest wants to be a chef and is interested in helping me cook but is particularly interested in baking. My eldest has almost zero interest, so will need extra encouragement. I’d like them to both be confident cooks before they fly the nest! Personally I could barely boil and egg when I had my first son and decided to teach myself how to cook via cookery books. My husbnad was a chef for a while, so he was a good help teaching me too.

    • natalie holland says:

      I forgot my actual tip ha…what I find helpful is, with my youngest especially we look through foodie magazines and I get him to talk about what he likes the look of and what he’d like to make. Then there is an interest in the start and he has a visual idea already of what we’re going to do.

  • Jade says:

    Let children help with cooking whatever there age and don’t worry if they are making a big mess.

  • chris keenan says:

    Don’t stress about the mess. Let them enjoy and worry about cleaning up afterwards.

  • Ruth Stanbridge says:

    My daughter has been helping me in the kitchen since she could stand up….even if she just got to bang the wooden spoons on the pots and pans this was enough to make her feel included to begin with.

  • Kelly Kingshott says:

    Be patient, make it fun and let them get messy. Letting them choose a recipe themselves also inspires interest in what they are cooking.

  • Eleanor says:

    My 15 month old son used to be terrified of the noise of my food processor (often used making him purées when he was younger). I then let him press the button, turning it on and off. Now he is in control of the noise he loves it, and is fascinated watching the blades spin within.

  • Lucy Lock says:

    Biggest tip…….tell them it tastes delicious even if it’s the driest/blandest/lumpiest/too sweetmost disgusting creation you’ve ever had. They enjoyed making it and made it with love and tgats all that matters x

  • steph lovatt says:

    Expect a mess, get everything set out for them before hand.

  • Claire Nutman says:

    Make sure to have cooking aprons, and keep it simple to begin with, flapjacks or corn flake cakes is a really good starting point x

  • Michelle says:

    If you aren’t messy you aren’t doing it right 🙂

  • Sophie says:

    I love to make chocolate cornflake cakes with my son, its gets very messy, therefore aprons are advised, its also fun for not just my son but for me too. (:
    We have started making flapjacks which are extremely messy to make, sticky and gloopy but again very easy to make and alot of fun.

  • Keep the recipes, simple and child friendly. Don’t worry about ‘the look’ being perfect and relax about the mess. Enjoy, watch them enjoy, then have fun together clearing up and relax and enjoy your delicious goodies.

  • Megan Bayford says:

    MAKE CHILD-FRIENDLY DISHES LIKE COLD-SET PUDDINGS OR MICROWAVEABLE FOOD SO THEY CAN REALLY BE HANDS-ON WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT BURNS.

  • Anna says:

    If you can, bring the cooking or preparation down to their level – we love putting out a ‘picnic blanket’ in the dining room and sitting on it to pod broad beans, stir up biscuit ingredients or decorate fairy cakes.

  • Natalie Kiernan says:

    I love cooking and baking with my little bean, she is like a mini me and loves to wear her apron like mummy. My top tip is to have great background music to add to the fun and distract if/when she gets bored. She loves boogying around the kitchen!!!

  • Veronica says:

    I like to play ‘Big Chef, Little Chef’ whether it be baking or making dinner / snacks I like to make my little girl head chef with her apron and hat on. Letting her tell me what goes into making the particular dish (with a little guidance of course she is only 2 yrs) Doing this encouraged her to find her voice, learn her colours and words. Now she says the ingredient (nearly) rather than point at it. You never worry about the mess because afterwards she’s ready for a nap and it’s time for me to clean up the mess. However; pretend play would be great because this baking and cooking is getting costly 🙂

  • heidi brown says:

    Leave them to make their own creations, dont correct too often and dont expect them to make the ‘great british bake off’ perfect creations, they are onlykids and they will be perfect to them!

    • Boggle says:

      Congratulations Heidi, you’ve been drawn as the winner of our cooking role play bundle! We’ve emailed you to request your address details so that we can arrange delivery of your prize.

  • Kelly Hooper says:

    pre measure everything and put them in individual dishes if baking with young children so they can just tip each item in the bowl without you having to get involved.

  • Hester McQueen says:

    My grand daughter has been helping me since she was in her walker! I help her stir the mixture. At 18 months she points to the bowl and says cake with a puzzled look so hasn’t quite managed to work it all out.

  • Tina Hewitt says:

    My Granddaughter loves to help in the kitchen but when making buns she gets impatient waiting for them to cook and cool so we use that time to make butter icing and to do some washing up.

  • amelia avossa says:

    I always say Plan ahead!!! lol. select an appropriate recipe, one that they will enjoy and involves plenty of activities that are suitable for their age. Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment at the ready. If necessary, do some preparation, before you ask them to join you. Baking is fun but if you need to get the evening meal ready, think about how they might help you to do that.

  • Diana says:

    Always make sure little ones are wearing aprons 🙂

  • Barbara Handley says:

    Make sure you allow plenty of time Have distractions to hand if the children get impatient such as choosing what to bake next time. Involve them in choosing recipes.

  • vicky dunn says:

    mytwins are 2 so I give them a bowl of flour and milk to stir and make mess with while I do the real cooking

  • Nicola Robinson says:

    Make cooking enjoyable. Together we gather our ingredients and equipment, singing silly songs about them. We don’t mind getting a little messy …even the washing up afterwards is messy! Our favourite part is sitting down together to sample the delights… And sharing them of course!

  • esme mccrubb says:

    start small allowing them to help with the prep work and gradually build up to them getting more involved

  • cathryn1 says:

    making home made pizza faces together

  • Jay says:

    I bake and cook whenever I can with my son, and although we use utensils fit for his little hands, we use a heavy ceramic mixing bowl – we soon learnt that it was better than a lighter plastic bowl, as most of the ingredients stay in the heavy bowl when mixing! But my main tip would be to let the little ones be as creative as they like, and to accept that mess is not only part of the process, but a hugely enjoyable part at that. Sticky fingerprints can be wiped away, but the memories of making fingers sticky can’t 🙂

  • Always let the kids help weighing and measuring is fab for their math skills, baking is good for their fine motor skills too. Its great for them

  • Rachel B says:

    Make sure they wear aprons. Also I usually put a disposable tablecloth on the kitchen table so I can just ‘scoop’ up any mess afterwards.

  • Rosalind Blight says:

    dont panic about mess, yes things will get messy but thats when you can involve the children and help teach responsibility as they can help clean

  • Gill Mitchell says:

    Don’t worry about the end result, appearance or presentation. The most important thing is that they have fun and the satisfaction of doing it themselves.

  • Jane Middleton says:

    wear aprons and don’t get angry when they spill things

  • Becky Duffy says:

    Let them enjoy themselves and make mess, use their hands and ask questions! Have fun together and they will always remember it! 🙂

  • Em S says:

    My tip for cooking with kids is to have loads of working space (table, worktop) and time, so that we don’t rush and we can make as much mess as needed. Most importantly you need to enjoy the finished cake or whatever together 🙂

  • Karen says:

    I find it best to let my children cook with us as much as possible as long as they’re up for it of course! Cakes are fun, but it’s the every day cooking that they will benefit from knowing about for the future. Oh, and always encourage – however things turn out! x

  • jamie millard says:

    Let them participate with the messier cooking jobs (baking). I’m terrible with the flour – gets everywhere. the kids think it’s great when they get to help during one of the messy sessions.

  • compy99 says:

    our little Grandson is still too small to help with real cooking, but he loves getting every saucepan out of cupboard, wooden spoons, plastic knives and forks and he is well away pretending to make things that we all have to “eat” even the cat has to be offered something!

    Anthony Harrington

  • hayley berry says:

    For my younger daughter i weigh everything out if needed. Have everything prepared for her so she doesn’t get bored waiting for me to do it whilst she is there. However for my older one i allow her to measure on the scales.

  • Ruth B says:

    Get everything ready and organised to keep things as simple as possible. It’s more enjoyable for everyone that way.

  • janegoddard says:

    Laugh, have fun, get messy!

  • Prerna Gupta says:

    Let them enjoy when they are trying to cook! Dont step in frequently..mess can be cleaned..but the look on thier faces when they are trying to help is priceless!! And when they have given their time and effort ..they wll be able to enjoy the food even more!!

  • Let them touch the ingredients to know how they feel. My daughter loves to crack an egg and let it run through her fingers. She’s very pleased with herself if she can pick the slippery yolk up without breaking it!

  • edeasmith says:

    aprons for cleanliness, the importance of safety in the kitchen and simple but yummy recipes

  • Rebecca Evans says:

    You have to seriously relax about mess, there’s no point in doing it with the kids if you’re going to get stressed because they’ll end up being bored and hating it – everything cleans up! Always try and let them help with everything too, even if it’s to hold their hands whilst you crack the egg, the kids will feel very involved and like they have made a huge achievement!

  • Start involving them from an early age (mixing etc.) it gets them interested straight away x

  • claire bartlett says:

    I want my daughter to enjoy cooking as much as I do so I talk her through what I am doing and make it as fun as I can. I let her play with all different foods to help her learn textures etc and try and get her to taste as much a range of flavours as I can. I can’t wait to bake with her and have her help me in the kitchen. It’s going to be so much fun!! x

  • Pre-weigh ingredients into little bowls first so kiddies can just pour or spoon the ingredients into a big bowl

  • Fiona says:

    Get everything ready (i.e. all ingredients out and measured) first, so it’s really simple and easy to do, especially if you have smaller children.

  • chirag p says:

    keep it manageable and always have real food which they can eat

  • lyn burgess says:

    Biscuits are a good place to start with very young ones. The shapes don’t really matter, it’s good fun to mix, quick to cook and cool so they can enjoy their results before they get bored, and as there is no egg, the mix is safe to sample raw.

  • Rebecca Lis (@bex552) says:

    Don’t worry about the mess!

  • 2013dogs says:

    When the children are ‘helping’ me to bake biscuits I cover the kitchen table with cling film before they start. No matter how much mess they make when cutting shapes out and rolling, it all gets screwed up in the cling film when they are finished.

  • Samantha Simmons says:

    Let the kids help as much as possible, don’t stress about the mess and have fun 🙂

  • Sarah Phillips says:

    Let them choose a recipe, check the cup words and shop for what’s missing. Grow as many ingredients as you can yourself. Let them see the journey of food from seed to plate. Let them add their own ‘signature’ to a dish (even if it is strawberries on a pizza!) and remember to try their creation with gusto!

  • Uli Chadwick says:

    My son is a very fussy eater. We are finding if he is involved in cooking a meal, he is more likely to eat it. My little helpy helper eats a wider range of foods now

  • Bethan Palmer says:

    Use recipes that easy but very hands on, kids love getting messy.

  • kathryn russell says:

    My advice is to be prepared for mess but relax and enjoy! Also be flexible… The other day we had to have a break mid-cooking to sample the biscuits before returning to decorate the rest 🙂

  • emmanouela says:

    I cook everyday wiith my daughter, since she was 10 months!! She is the sous chef..Her specialty is to add the spices.. we enjoy it very much!!

  • Sarah Pope says:

    With my Foundation Class, it’s all about letting them do as much as possible including the weighing out. They love cooking so much, we aim to do a cooking activity every few weeks.
    Again, don’t stress about the mess, enjoy and take loads of photos!!

  • JANE DALE-BEAUMONT says:

    Enjoy it , food and cooking should be a happy fun learning time with the bonus of eating the end product, Remember your face is what a little person reads, keep a smile on it . 🙂

  • Let them get stuck in. If you’ve a fussy eater I think letting them help prepare meals not sure of and trying bits along the way helps them not be so scared of certain foods

  • claire willmer says:

    I love cooking and baking with my two i think my tip would be get everything ready at the table and just enjoy it together and expect mess 😉 as thats all part of the fun and ofcourse “taste testing”

  • Fran B says:

    We use measuring cups and find american recipes or convert our favourites, which allows my little one to do much more measuring and mixing than if I am weighing all the ingredients out.

  • Jacqueline Berry says:

    When I bake with my three children I always make sure that they all have jobs to do and that they take turns. So while my eldest is measuring the flour my twin daughters are mixing butter and sugar, for example. I make sure that each of them take a turn to crack an egg and that they all squeeze in that important final mix each. Lastly we always talk about what we are making while we are cooking and about where the ingredients come from. The kitchen is always a mess when we cook but we have lots of fun and even my four year old twins can list all the ingredients to make cakes/ biscuits/ soup from scratch : )

  • ashley smith says:

    Expect a lot of mess – cooking is a messy business and when kids are involved there’ll be even more x

  • lisa h says:

    Relax & make a mess once in a while…lifes too short make a mess & have fun x

  • Laura Theobald says:

    My biggest tip, is don’t try to hard to ‘control’ the cooking. It doesn’t matter if you get flour in their hair or the floor it can be easily cleaned. Just let them be creative (as long as its safe). Also talk, tell them what things are, why you do things in a certain way. Teach them what you know. Most importantly have fun! xxx



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