Cooking with children: recipes and tips

Find out here what little hobby cooks are allowed to do at what age when cooking – and why children develop a feeling for healthy eating in addition to the correct handling of food.

Roll out the cake dough with a rolling pin, help with weighing ingredients or sort out berries: many tasks in the kitchen are a lot of fun for children. At the latest when they re-enact the cooking and entertain cuddly toys, they have learned enough from the adults and are sure to be thrilled when they can help out in the kitchen. 

Recipes for cooking with children

Before we start with tips and tricks about cooking with children, we would like to give you a few recipes: Most children like our 10 recipe ideas and your little ones can help diligently with the preparation. In this way, the youngest members of the family are not only full, but are also meaningfully employed and, in the end, proud as bolle!

Cooking with children: from what age?

The best way for little beginners to get started with baking and cooking is to bake cookies – it’s fun and a little snacking in between is also allowed. Even beginners can knead dough, cut out funny figures and decorate the cookies as they please. Topping the pizza or pasta bake with sliced ​​vegetables, cheese or salami is just as easy. If they already have a little more experience, the little ones can turn fried potatoes, whisk the scrambled eggs or measure ingredients and put them in the mixing bowl – under the supervision of their parents, of course. The consumer advice center has summarized which activities are no problem for small children’s hands from which age :

  • From the age of two : sorting food, harvesting fruit and herbs
  • From three years : wash fruit, vegetables and salad, stir the dough
  • From four years : cut and peel soft food, butter bread, set the table and clear it, cook with the stove
  • From the age of five : weigh ingredients, help bake cakes, fry eggs

However, adults should always take into account their child’s level of development and consider whether the information also applies to their child. Between the ages of six and eight, children then have the motor skills and understanding to help with all activities and – depending on their experience – to cook small dishes themselves.

Children cook independently

  • When adults cook under time pressure, children should better not help
  • Attach safety items: protective grille for the stove, door and drawer locks, lids for hot plates
  • Cook on the back plates
  • Turn the pan handle backwards
  • Do not leave electrical appliances near water
  • Put sharp knives point down in the dishwasher and always close the door

But that doesn’t mean you have to turn the kitchen into a high-security wing. Rather, children should learn how to use kitchen equipment correctly right from the start. You can cut with a blunt children’s knife from the age of four. It also helps young chefs when mom or dad explain in the kitchen why they do certain things. For example, why you touch hot handles with the pot holder or why you always cut away from your body. Also important: Teach the little ones straight away that things are tidied up together after work. So after the work is done, throw away the leftovers, put everything back in its place and rinse together.

Cooking with children: creating a sense of achievement

For children it is simply the most important thing: fun! Let the little chefs mix colorful smoothies, put faces on the pizza or blindly sniff all the spice jars before seasoning. For adults, on the other hand, cooking with children is a bit of a challenge: in order to keep the children enjoying cooking, parents sometimes have to accept that the kitchen will become a battlefield – and their offspring will, for example, mix the sauce themselves despite the splashes on the wall to let. And if the result is not that successful, even adult cooking experts have to hold back with criticism. After all, no (cooking) master has fallen from heaven! Or what do the experts say?

Interview with Sonja Fahmy: “The important thing is having fun!”

Nutritionist Sonja Fahmy advises the German Nutrition Society on issues such as healthy eating in daycare. In an interview, she explains why experience with food is important for children, how they can best learn to cook and what adults should pay attention to when they leave their kitchen to the youngsters.

Ms. Fahmy, children are often picky about food. Do children spurn vegetables such as spinach & Co less often when they are allowed to harvest, chop and prepare them themselves?

It is quite normal for children to reject certain foods. Whether they like something or not is closely related to “knowing” the taste. If children are allowed to help with the preparation of the meal, it can of course help to familiarize them with unknown dishes and motivate them to try the “green stuff” too.

What do children learn about food when they come into contact with it early on by helping out in the kitchen?

Children are naturally curious and enthusiastic about many everyday tasks. This also applies to cooking. You will get to know the origins of food. For example, that a potato has to be cooked before it is soft and can be eaten. When helping in the kitchen, children also have the opportunity to perceive food with all their senses. You smell fresh herbs, taste salty, see how a dough is made from different ingredients or hear the meat sizzling in the pan. By spending time together in the kitchen, motor skills are also trained, which has a positive effect on other areas of life.

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