Your house is already equipped with one of the best teaching tools around your kitchen! Helping out in the kitchen provides kids with a variety of sensory experiences, a sense of independence, practical life skills, cultural awareness, early math skills, and rich daily experiences to fuel their dramatic play. And no worries if you’re not much of a cook yourself – kids don’t need complicated recipes to learn in the kitchen! Here are 6 easy recipes for kids to help facilitate learning
Gluten-free Cheese Crackers
Image from The Big Man’s World
This cheese cracker/ chip recipe may be from The Big Man’s World, but it’s the perfect easy snack for little hands to make! These healthy take on cheese crackers have just a few ingredients and can be baked to your desired texture. Bake slightly less than the recipe recommends for a softer texture, or bake for the full time for a crisp, chip-like texture.
Kids will love all the fun tools they get to use with this recipe: big spoons or whisk to mix the melted cheese and almond flour, rolling pin to roll out the cheesy dough, and pizza slicer or cookie cutter to cut their crackers. Show them how they can cut the dough into different shapes and sizes, naming each shape as you go! (Just be sure the melted cheese isn’t too hot before you let them handle it!)
Cinnamon Apple Crisps
Image from Healthy Little Foodies
A healthy kid-friendly snack with just two ingredients? Yes, please. These cinnamon apple crisps are a perfect treat for any time but especially for cozy fall days. Young kids can help sprinkle the cinnamon and arrange slices on the baking sheet, and older kids can help cut the slices. (Just be sure to core the apples first to make them easier to manage, and of course, supervise their use of knives and slicers).
Use a variety of apples to teach kids about colors and plant varieties. Equip them with descriptive language for each type of apple: “The green ones are tart and crisp, and these yellow ones are juicy and sweet!” For a fun mini-geography lesson, use a map to show older kids where each type of apple is grown.
Image from Healthy Little Foodies
This easy approach to homemade pizza is another kid-friendly gem from Healthy Little Foodies. This easy lunch idea is perfect for homes with multiple picky eaters because each kid has full reign on their own personal-sized pizza. They can spread their sauce, sprinkle the cheese, and add their favorite toppings. They’ll be having so much fun, they won’t even notice that you’re sneaking in a lesson on circles and fractions as you slice the pizzas together!
Image from Mindful Momma
Cooking is a chance to introduce your kids to flavors and cooking practices from around the world! These kid-friendly sushi wraps are a great intro to the salty and umami flavors of soy sauce and nori. Plus, sushi rice is so fun to play, er… “cook,” with! If you’re up for a little mess and creativity, let kids mold the rice into different 3D shapes before adding their desired veggie toppings and wrapping with nori strips. It may not be traditional, but it sure is fun!
Image from Two Healthy Kitchens
Eat the rainbow, learn the rainbow! And get in a little protein and healthy fats while you're at it with the “pot of gold” egg! This super simple recipe is a yummy way to help kids learn the colors of the rainbow and why it’s healthy to eat foods of all different colors. This one is simple enough that kids can proudly prepare it in their play kitchen all by themselves! Just provide the cut fruit and watch them get to work! (Make sure to cut grapes and other choking hazards well and always supervise!)
Don’t be surprised if your kids want to keep the cooking fun going all day long! While you may not be able to spend all day with them in the real kitchen, a play kitchen and a few realistic accessories are great developmental toys to help them explore that interest through dramatic play!