- What are the benefits of cooking with children?
- The best recipe websites for children
- How to make cooking with children extra fun
Cooking is one of the most fun activities you can do as a family.🍳 It’s satisfying to put ingredients together, work with your hands, and create something delicious to enjoy together. However, cooking with children is not without its challenges. Wondering about the best recipe websites for children in the UK? We have you covered.
What are the benefits of cooking with children?
Cooking with adults is beneficial for children in many ways.
- Cooking allows children to explore their senses. Taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound are all part of the cooking experience. While cooking, ask your child to identify how they experience foods through each of their five senses. Make it a game–blindfold them and ask them to determine what an item is without looking at it!
- Children can practice maths through cooking. Ever read a recipe wrong and accidentally add too much salt? Numbers matter when following a recipe! When cooking, children have to focus on many parts of maths, including fractions, counting, and measurement, reinforcing lessons they’ve learned in school.
- Science is all around us–especially in the kitchen. What causes water to boil? What makes bread rise? Why isn’t it safe to eat raw meat? Through cooking, children can explore science in a fun, hands-on way.
- Reading a recipe teaches reading comprehension. 📖 It’s important to understand and follow a recipe carefully to get the proper outcome.
- Cooking is a way to practice time management skills. For more complicated dishes, it’s important to plan out the different steps so the food is ready at the same time. When children learn to cook, they see this kind of time management in action, which is something that can benefit other parts of their life, too.
- Safety first! Kitchens are full of safety hazards, like sharp knives, hot stoves, and boiling water. 🔪 Cooking with your child is a way to teach them the dangers present in the kitchen and safe ways to avoid them.
Preparing a meal with your child is certainly a good way to expand your child’s intellect, but it also has many other benefits, too! Making old family recipes can help a child connect more deeply with their culture. Food tells a story, and for many families, it’s how they keep their traditions and cultures alive.
Cooking also allows children to understand more about nutrition, and to learn more about the foods that keep their bodies healthy and strong. Many children have an aversion to vegetables, but making them into something delicious shows kids how vegetables can be tasty and just as satisfying as dessert!
Additionally, cooking with parents can help children have a healthy relationship with food. Particularly as children enter their teenage years. They are often faced with many messages about diets and counting calories, and becoming fixated on these things can be detrimental to their mental health.
Cooking as a family shows children that food is something that represents love, community, and joy, and that it’s not something to be restricted or avoided.
There’s an added bonus for you too, parents and guardians. When you teach your children how to cook, it won’t be long before they’re able to make themselves their own lunches and after-school snacks! That’s one less thing for you to worry about. Preparing their own food can help kids feel confident and self-sufficient, things that are necessary for healthy self-esteem.
The best recipe websites for children
Cooking together really is one of the best things you can do for your child. If you’re not sure where to find good recipe websites for children, we’re here to help. Here are some of the best.
Great British Chefs
Great British Chefs was founded in 2010 to become the go-to website for foodies and food brands alike. The website boasts over 10,000 recipes from some of the best chefs in the UK and Italy, and they have a special section catered to recipes to prepare with children. These include simple desserts to healthy meat-free meals. You’re sure to find something that all the little ones in your family will love!
BBC Good Food
BBC Good Food is many people’s first stop when they’re searching for recipe websites. The British institution has a whole collection of recipes to make with kids. Users can rate the individual recipes, too, so you can see how other parents got on with making these delicious dishes with their families.
All Recipes is one of the biggest cooking websites in the world, with communities all across the English-speaking world. Their UK & Ireland site is designed for users in the area, meaning you don’t need to worry about a recipe including an ingredient you can’t find at your local shop!
All Recipes is unique, too, as the recipes are uploaded by users. This way, you can rest assured that any recipe you take on has been tried and tested by other parents.
Tesco Real Food
Supermarket giant Tesco makes it easy to find the perfect recipe to make with your family. They have one of the best food websites, where you can browse delicious recipes designed for tiny helpers. When you find one you like, you can directly shop the ingredients online, and then either order them for delivery or print out a shopping list to take in-store! The recipes are all rated by other shoppers, too, so you’ll certainly find something to please everyone in the family.
It’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t tried a Jamie Oliver recipe! The British chef is one of the biggest names in the industry, and his simple and accessible approach to cooking has made his recipes favourites in many households. His official site is one of the best recipe sites for children, and it features many delicious recipes to make with kids.
In addition, Oliver’s own son, Buddy, shares some of his own snacks and dishes to make. Buddy often appears on his own Youtube show called #CookingBuddies to demonstrate how to make these recipes. Watching these videos is a great way to get your children engaged with cooking!
You may not think of the National Trust as a place that would have delicious recipes, but you’d be surprised! The institution is committed to maintaining the nature and history of Britain, and it’s the best place for recipes for classic British treats.
Delicious Magazine has been home to, well, delicious recipes for years! On their website, they highlight some of the best baking recipes to make with kids. After all, what kid doesn’t want to help make a yummy dessert? These recipes are great especially for special occasions, such as holidays and birthdays, when your child wants to prepare something special for a loved one.
How to make cooking with children extra fun
You may have the recipes now, but are you prepared to cook with children? As you definitely know as a parent, having a little one around can make even the simplest task a bit more stressful! Cooking with your kids, however, doesn’t have to be especially difficult. Here’s how to keep meal prep with them more joyful than stressful.
Whether you’re a chef worthy of a Michelin-rating or just famous for your peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, don’t try to take on recipes that are too complicated with your kids. Try something simple to start, such as having them roll out dough for pizza 🍕 or add sprinkles to some sugar cookies. 🍪 Even if your kid is older and really wants to get more involved in the kitchen, start small. How many times has your kid said they wanted to do a new hobby and then quite shortly after? Begin with something small, accessible, and affordable, and then get more ambitious later!
Let your kids do what they want
We know–those words might ignite fear in your heart. Don’t worry we’re not saying to let them through food all over the floor! Instead, recognize that cooking with your kids may mean that your meal might not taste as you want it too. Don’t take on cooking with your kid on a weeknight when everyone is going to be cranky and hungry if it doesn’t work. (Or if you do, keep your local pizza delivery on standby!) Anyone who regularly cooks knows that half the fun is experimenting and trying something new. Supply your kids with inexpensive ingredients that you can handle being used a bit carelessly. Guide your children and help them read the recipe, but don’t be too harsh on them if they make a mistake. Cooking is a way they can show their creativity and learn through play!
Worry about the mess later
If an unkempt kitchen brings back nothing but memories from your uni days, we understand. But as you’ve already found out in all your other parenting adventures, it’s hard to avoid mess with children around! Try and keep things as contained as possible, but also try to go into cooking with your kids with the acceptance that you might be scrubbing some flour out of the floor tiles! If you really can’t stomach the mess (and we certainly don’t blame you!), bring it outside. Do all the mixing and stirring in an area you can easily hose down, reserving the kitchen solely for use of the oven.
Think of cooking with your children as a journey, not a destination. Try out a delicious recipe from one of the websites recommended, and do the best you can. Maybe the food turns out inedible and the kitchen is covered with spices and herbs. You’re making memories with your kids, and that’s the most important thing of all.