Cooking and Baking with Children

Both an activity perfect for a rainy weekend and to help aid children’s development, cooking and baking with your children is full of benefits. Cooking can help develop your child’s maths and coordination skills, whilst also encouraging adventurous eating. By giving your children an active role in choosing what to make, preparing and cooking simple meals, you introduce them to new ingredients and a wider variety of food. By cooking with your children, they can explore unknown tastes, smells and textures, widening their pallet to stop the development of picky eaters!


There’s no denying the fact that cooking with little ones is going to be messy! Before you open your kitchen to mayhem, get organised.

  • It’s a good idea to cover up everything – tables, clothes, recipe books – perhaps in old newspapers or plastic that is easy to wipe down and clear up.
  • Use large mixing bowls to prevent ingredients spilling over.
  • Give yourself double the time needed to make your food / cakes.
  • Get plastic knives and safety scissors so your children can join in safely with activities such as cutting pastry or soft ingredients.

Get Children Involved

While cooking, talk to your children about the ingredients you are using. Talk about where the ingredients are from, what they do and what the recipe might turn out like. The more familiar with the ingredients and the more involved with the process children are, the more likely they are to eat what they are helping to make. As well as learning about ingredients, lots of other learning can come from cooking. Maths skills can be improved through cooking, from reading the numbers in the recipe and on the scales. It can also start to give your children a grasp of weight and measurements, and if baking, decorating cakes can increase coordination and creativity.

Cooking and baking with children can also help them learn about kitchen safety, such as not to touch hot hobs or ovens, and introducing them how to prepare food in a safe and sanitary way. With older children, allow them to get things out of the oven, giving them a responsibility whilst showing them the importance of items such as oven gloves.

Some Ideas

When cooking or baking with children, it’s a good idea to go for recipes that aren’t too complicated or time consuming. When cooking why not try:

  • Fajitas – these are quick and easy to make, and once all ingredients are prepared, let your children make their own, putting their own choices into a wrap.
  • Make your own pizza – the healthy alternative to buying one from the shop. Why not try letting your little ones add their own toppings, getting them involved with the process, or make a base out of wholemeal flour.

Baking ideas:

  • Fairy Cakes – simple cupcakes that are quick and easy and are fun to decorate, allowing your children can get creative.
  • Cornflake Cakes
  • Gingerbread Men – easy to make and decorate, increasing children’s coordination.

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