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What Age Can My Kids Start Cooking?

13 August 2023

Cooking is a life skill, something that will benefit your children through their entire lives. Cooking has tremendous benefits for your child’s development. If you give it a chance, it can improve their motor skills, solving abilities, computation skills, and many others. Being able to cook healthy food will help your children learn about nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight, while knowing how to bake tasty treats can help them make friends and contribute to charity bake sales. 

Cooking is also a great bonding opportunity for your whole family, working together to produce something delicious you can all enjoy. If you want your children to learn these skills, read on as we discuss how early you can start introducing cooking to your kids. 

Getting Started Early

If you’ve been wondering what age you can start introducing cooking to your children, the answer might prove a little surprising. You can actually begin as early as 3 years old! I know what you’re thinking. A 3-year-old is a toddler (and you’d be right!). However, you’ll be surprised at how children can handle simple cooking activities fairly easily even at this young age. Children love to play with toy kitchens and there are some activities they can help with in your real kitchen as well.

Obviously, you’ll have to make sure you are on top of supervising everything. Like any other activity, cooking comes with hazards and risks, but it’s enriching in terms of the skills and training your child gets. 

The great thing about letting your kids cook is that you can tailor the activity depending on their age and skill level. At the very beginning when your kids are 3 years old and above, introduce them to tasks that aren’t too complicated. If you end up making things too difficult, not only will it be frustrating for you - but it will be demotivating for your child as they won’t be able to handle the pressure. At first, you could start by letting them arrange the materials or ingredients and stir a bowl of batter or dough. After a while, you may teach them how to use some basic kitchen wares. And then as they progress, it will reach a point when you can say that you can already trust them with handling kitchen knives and cooking independently!

Benefits as they Grow Up

By the time your kids reach the ages of 10 and above, given that they have constantly been exposed to the kitchen environment, they will likely have a well-rounded set of cooking skills. 

By exposing your children to the kitchen early, they can develop an appreciation and understand the real value of food. Children without training in the kitchen will not be able to appreciate these things as much, and might take these things for granted. Children trained in the kitchen are also disciplined, as they know they cannot always get what they want instantly. In the same way they must be patient in waiting for food to cook, they’ll be able to exercise patience in the different tasks they might encounter at school. Another great thing about cooking is that you will be able to create a bond with your children like no other activity. Why make your child cook alone when you can cook with them and have a blast? Or better yet, include the whole family - put some music on - and get everyone cooking together!

Photo by August de Richelieu

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