What mom wouldn’t love for someone to help with the cooking? But, when given the option of having their own children be the ones to help, moms may be worried about the mess that is bound to be made. However, there are some meals kids can cook for themselves. The sooner they learn how to do that, the easier your life will get!
From a young age, children want to help us in the kitchen. If you can, find small tasks to keep them interested so they avoid taking over. Kids can help read the directions, prep ingredients, stir, and sometimes even pour and measure. Consider letting them push the buttons on the Instant Pot or Air Fryer. As they grow they can be trusted to do more.
Meals Kids Can Cook Without The Stove
There are meals kids can cook without using the stove, oven, or even microwave. They are perfect for kids who can handle a dull knife and are able to reach the counter – even with the help of a stool.
Sandwiches – Start by allowing your child to spread his own peanut butter or place slices of turkey onto the bread. Next, allow him to make the sandwich on his own. Teach him to put away the extra pieces when he is done. Tip: Spoons work as well as knives for spreading condiments.
Fruit Salad – Have your little help pick out the fruits you want to use, wash them, and cut them if necessary. Slicing bananas, canned peaches, and canned pears are a great way to practice fine motor skills. Tip: Buy the sliced peaches to cut down on the cutting.
Yogurt Parfaits – Layering yogurt, granola, and fruit can be as simple or as complicated as you want. In a rush, your child can sprinkle granola on top of pre-made yogurt cups and call it a day. When more time is available, she can create layers and top with fruit or chocolate chips. Tip: Frozen berries make a colorful addition and require zero prep work.
No-Bake Cookies – Kids love stirring and pouring, and no-bake cookies are the perfect way to combine the two. Find a simple and fun recipe with M&Ms or another colorful ingredient. Allow your child to measure, pour, and mix until his little heart’s content. Tip: Make small batches so your child can do it often.
Keeping things on hand – and accessible – makes it easier for kids to learn independence in the kitchen. Sure, they may make extra PB&J sandwiches, but in the long-run, it’s worth it. (Plus, they stay fresh in the fridge ready to eat the next day.) Messes will be made, but life will go on. Promise.
Cooking with Light Supervision
Sometimes kids want to make things that involve heat. While they should never do these things alone, you’ll know when your child is ready to turn on the stove and boil water or use a saucepan.
Pasta – There’s a fine art in making pasta, right? Some children really enjoy starting the process, but many lose interest somewhere before the water boils. Learning to complete the steps and end with a perfectly cooked noodle involves many lessons. Tip: The time it takes the water to boil is the perfect amount of time to review spelling words or talk about your child’s day.
Scrambled Eggs – Cracking eggs can be a daunting task for a kid, but making scrambled eggs is a skill he will be glad to have forever. As his palate matures, he can practice dicing vegetables and adding new flavors. Tip: Put a plate under the bowl as your child cracks eggs; then if he misses, he can scrape it into the bowl after.
Grilled Cheese – Like scrambled eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches are a fine skill to perfect. Just as our grandmothers did, make sure you teach your children to butter the “right” side of the bread and cook it just the precise amount of time. Hint: Don’t forget to teach your child the things Grandma said when she taught you.
Brownies – One of the easiest things for a child to bake are brownies. You can usually just add water and an egg or two and — Voila! However, you can make this more complicated as your child grows older and bake them from scratch. You can even add some peppermint extract to spice things up. Tip: You can substitute applesauce for oil when in a pinch.
When your children learn how to master some of these basic cooking and baking skills, they’re going to want to participate more in the kitchen. Let them! Allow them to prepare the spaghetti while you cook the sauce. Have them crack eggs while you chop the veggies.
While you create meals kids can make in the kitchen, you’ll also create lasting memories, as well as opportunities for your children to talk with you. As your children get older, the kitchen can be a safe and comfortable place to talk about things. Invite your children into the kitchen and embrace the mess!
Looking for an easy place to start when cooking with your kids? Check out these 5 Easy and Healthy Kid-Friendly Lunches