Top 10 Reasons to Teach Kids About Cooking

cooking and eating with kids
Eating with Kids. Digital Vision/Getty Images

Cooking with kids is one of the most valuable family activities you can engage in together. Here's why:

Cooking time is bonding time. When you cook together, kids feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. They feel responsible, because you are trusting them with an important family task. That, in turn, makes them behave more responsibly, and relieves you of the burden of preparing the family meal alone.

What's more, cooking allows kids to relax and share about what's going on in their lives. You're libel to learn a lot more about your thirteen year's old problems if you cook with her, than if you just asked, "What's wrong?"

When kids can say, "I made it myself." They feel a sense of accomplishment. When people like what they cooked, they feel a sense of pride and achievement.

When kids cook a new food themselves, they are more likely to eat it -- or at least try it. They may not eat all of it. They may not eat any of it the first time you make it together. But over time, they will get comfortable with it, and eventually, they will try it.

Cooking teaches kids everything from fractions (is a 1/2 cup bigger than a 1/4 cup?) to temperatures (what makes broiling hotter than baking) to geometry (what is a 13 x 9 pan).

We read to learn, and cooking is one of the best ways to show kids that reading offers tangible results. Following step-by-step instructions to get to a finished result is an important reading skill, and using that skill to cook shows kids that reading has very practical benefits.

The first time I made s'mores brownies, my five-year-old asked what was on top of the brownies.

"Marshmallows," I replied.

"But where do you get the brown ones?" she wanted to know.

Then we made a batch together. She put the soft, fluffy white marshmallows on top. Then we put them under the broiler for a minute-and-a-half. Voila! Brown marshmallows!

Chemistry at the kindergarten level. Bet you didn't realize baking brownies could do that, did you?

No, they won't automatically beg for Brussels sprouts after the first time you cook together. But they may discover they like avocados if you make guacamole with them.

It may not happen overnight, but generally speaking, the more you cook with your kids, the more foods they'll be willing to try, and the more likely they are to come to enjoy fruits and vegetables.

Part of cooking is shopping. When you cook together, kids learn that pizza doesn't have to come from a restaurant and spaghetti sauce doesn't have to come from a jar. One of the easiest and most enjoyable things to cook with kids is bread. Many kids think bread is a raw ingredient. Just showing them that they can make white bread in their own homes is a revelation to many kids. You don't even have to make it by hand. The act of adding ingredients to a bread machine, and getting a loaf of delicious warm bread three hours later is enough to make an impression.

It is far more interesting to teach kids about the Chinese New Year by making kung pao chicken or about Cinco de Mayo by making Mexican quesadillas than by giving them a history lesson. Kids learn by experience. Cooking touches all of their senses, enabling them to remember what they've learned in a way unlike any other.

The vast majority of college kids can't make a hot meal. What will they do when they are out on their own? Eat take- out? How will they afford it? Cooking gives kids a basic and important life skill.

  1. Cooking brings families together.
  2. Cooking builds self esteem.
  3. Cooking makes kids more willing to try new foods.
  4. Cooking teaches kids math skills.
  5. Cooking teaches kids reading skills.
  6. Cooking teaches kids chemistry skills.
  7. Kids who cook tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.
  8. When kids cook they learn about the origins of food.
  9. Cooking teaches kids about different cultures.
  10. Cooking with kids gives them an important lifelong skill.