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#GEP12Days — Day 8 : Kids in the Kitchen

A viral video from September shows a two-year-old and his nana making cookies. Every time the nana turned her back, the little boy stuck his hands in the bowl and shoved all he could into his mouth, including raw eggs and a stick of butter. On the other hand, this toddler chef is meticulous with his cooking, but not without a little mess. Cooking with kids can be messy, and your child may want to eat everything before it even enters the oven, but there are many advantages to getting kids in the kitchen. According to the Penn State Extension, when children are involved in food preparation, they can develop a familiarity with food that increases likelihood of tasting different foods. It allows for sensory exploration, confidence building, and incorporates math, science, and literacy skills. Conversations with kids about food, like where it comes from and the history of a dish, can strengthen relationships within the family and with food. Try out some of these ideas on how to include your children in cooking and baking:

  1. A key part of safety in the kitchen is thinking of tasks that are appropriate to your child’s skill level. Here is a list of activities broken down by age, as well as some general safety practices. And here are some tips focused specifically on toddlers.

  2. There are many ways to focus on math in the kitchen. Here are some ideas to increase math literacy through cooking, including size comparisons, listing ingredients, and using fractions while measuring.

  3. PBS has plenty of recipes that include educational talking points and characters from PBS shows!

  4. Cooking with Kids is an organization based out of New Mexico that has classroom and kid-approved recipes. They focus on recipes from many different cultures, so some of their dishes might help people who are stuck in a dinner rut!

  5. Please don’t feel like you need to start with fancy or complicated dishes-- you can involve your kids in your everyday cooking. Starting simple is great and can be less stressful.

Need book recommendations? Drake Community Library has got you covered with a Cooking booklist!

  • The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America's Test Kitchen

  • Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes

  • Cooking the Japanese Way by Reiko Weston (This is part of a 32-book series including many nationalities)

  • Cool Lunches to Make & Take by Lisa Wagner

  • Super Foods for Super Kids Cookbook by Noelle Martin

For more titles check out our online catalog at:

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