Kids love doing stuff in the kitchen—you don’t have to twist their arm. And we’ve got 10 reasons why cooking with your kids just might be the best time you have all week. Yeah, flour will be spilled. Clothes will get dirty. But that’s okay.Still, an apron on everyone doesn’t hurt.
- It's a great way to spend some time together. It will divvy up the work—and give you a chance to catch up on each other’s crazy busy lives.
- It's fun to watch them discover new foods. Even the pickiest eater can’t resist sampling his or her own handiwork.
- It will boost their confidence.
Kids feel empowered with every new skill they tackle and master.
- Healthy eating begins at home. Hey, it’s up to you to make carrots cooler than cookies.
- These skills last a lifetime. From creative thinking to problem solving – just think of your kitchen as a classroom in disguise.
- They'll feel like they're contributing. Even if it’s only adding cheese or sprinkling bread crumbs on top of a casserole.
- You're making a memory. And for the rest of their lives, when they smell your signature spaghetti sauce, they’ll be thinking of you.
- It's great to have a family tradition.
Routines and traditions are important to your kids’ health and well-being – and are even associated with academic achievement.
- You’re keeping family history alive. Before you know it, you’ll be talking about the secret to grandma’s biscuits and dad’s famous chili.
- You just might get a nice surprise. Like breakfast in bed or Sunday dinner—made with a spoonful of caring and a cup of love.
Cooking with your kids helps them:
- Develop fine motor skills
- Build their vocabulary and reading skills.
- Practice math skills.
- Think scientifically.
- Learn to follow directions in the right order and complete an activity.
- Learn how tasks can be broken down into small parts.
- Express themselves creatively.
- Work cooperatively with others.
- Develop patience.
Top cookbooks for kids*:
Emeril’s There’s a Chef in My Soup. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Chef Emeril Legasse gets kids into the kitchen with fun, tasty and healthy recipes. Includes clear instructions and illustrations and difficulty levels.
- Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals For Kids. Recommended for ages 4-10.
- Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes, Mollie Katzen. Recommended for ages 5-8.
- Cooking With Children, Marion Cunningham. Recommended for ages 7 and up.
- The Mix-It-Up Cookbook (American Girl Library.) Recommended for ages 9-12.
- Kitchen for Kids, Jennifer Low. Recommended for ages 9-12.
- Chef Bobo’s Good Food Cookbook, Robert Surles. Written for adults, but easy enough for older kids to make.
- Fanny At Chez Panisse, Alice Waters. Recommended for ages 9-12.
- Real Cooking for Kids, Rob Seideman. Recommended for ages 9-12.
- The Kid’s Cookbook, Abigail Johnson Dodge. Recommended for ages 9 and up.
* Compiled by Brett Moore, professional chef and gourmet food blogger for About.com.
Fun, Yummy and Wholesome
Sundaes For Breakfast
- Low fat vanilla yogurt
Del Monte® Yellow Cling Peaches in 100% Juice, Del Monte® Pineapple Tidbits in 100% Juice and/or Del Monte® Dark Sweet Cherries
- Chopped nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat germ
- Layer in parfait glasses.
English muffin or bagel halves
- Del Monte® Traditional Spaghetti Sauce
- Del Monte® Pineapple Tidbits in Its Own Juice
- Chopped ham
- Grated mozzarella cheese
- Bake in 350º oven for 8-10 minutes or until cheese melts.
Baked tortilla chips
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Del Monte Fiesta® Corn
- Del Monte® Petite Diced Tomatoes
- Microwave on high for 1 minute or until cheese melts.
- Serve with low-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.