Ideas for how to include kids in the kitchen

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Our ideas for cooking with kids


We think the #1 way to raise healthy eaters is to create lots of opportunities for them to participate in the kitchen. Young kids are naturally curious and will always want to take part in what their parents are doing. The earlier they’re included, the more likely they’ll continue contributing and helping as they grow up. While their schedules will get busier with extra-curricular activities and increased homework-load, the skills they’ll build in the kitchen will always be valuable to their well-being in the future. Below we’ve come up with a variety of activities for kids of all ages – enjoy all this free info as a graphic, video, or some good ol’ fashion reading.

‘How to include kids in the kitchen’ infographic


Cook Smarts: How to involve kids in the kitchen infographic


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Share cooking knowledge & create a food dialogue


Spoon - How to cook with kids via Cook Smarts

Taste things

Having kids taste meals-in-progress makes kids feel like their opinions count. Plus, younger kids love it when you give them “important” responsibilities like making sure that dinner tastes good.

Sprout - How to cook with kids via Cook Smarts

Grow a garden

A garden deepens kids’ connection to food since they can learn how food grows as well as how food gets cooked. Plus they learn that growing food takes work and resources.

Improve arithmetic skills


Operating tools and appliances


Button - How to cook with kids via Cook Smarts

Use tools with supervision

We all know young kids love big buttons that make a lot of noise, so teach and supervise them to use salad spinners, food processors, and blenders.

Blender - How to cook with kids via Cook Smarts

Operate tools independently

Kids ages 12+ should be able to use most kitchen tools and appliances on their own, especially if you started getting them comfortable early.

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Prepping and chopping


Knife - How to cook with kids via Cook Smarts

Graduating to a chef’s knife

Even when your kids are ready to graduate to an adult chef’s knife, start them with soft, easy-to-chop ingredients like tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant and have them watch this safety video.

Chef's knife - How to cook with kids via Cook Smarts

Mastering a chef’s knife

Once they get older (or just a lot more skilled), they can learn to chop anything, even stubborn-skinned butternut squash. Use these short prep tutorials or watch them straight from our meal plans.

Creating confident cooks


Salad dressing - How to cook with kids via Cook Smarts

Salad dressings

A salad is great to include in any meal and one of your kids can be the ‘Head Salad Dressing Maker’ – a quick and easy job for even busy teenagers.

Oven - How to cook with kids via Cook Smarts

Make a part of dinner

Let your kids be responsible for one part of dinner or one entire dinner once a week. They’ll be learning skills that’ll be useful for a lifetime!

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