How and Why You Should Cook with Your Kids at Home

Staying home from work and school with the kids is a great time to do activities together and learn new skills as a family. At Allegro, we believe nothing brings the family together like a good meal. Spending time home together is a great time to learn how to cook as a family, and will provide your children with skills that they will carry into adulthood.

Children have a natural desire to help, and encouraging this desire by teaching them to cook can help to alleviate work for parents, expand the palates of picky eaters, gain an appreciation of the work necessary to prepare a meal, and develop healthy eating habits.

Although teaching young ones can be difficult and messy, here are a few tips and tasks that children from each age group can assist with in the kitchen:

Toddler age children (younger than 3 years old) can assist with simpler tasks such as:

  • washing fruits and vegetables
  • mixing ingredients
  • mashing with a fork, spoon, or potato masher
  • rolling dough

Children who are preschool age (3-5 years old) can help by:

  • weighing, pouring, or spooning ingredients into scales or mixing bowls
  • tearing herbs and lettuce or squashing fruit
  • sieving flour and other dry ingredients
  • kneading dough
  • spreading icing or butter

Children who are 5 to 7 years old can participate with:

  • cutting with a small knife or scissors using proper safety methods
  • grating cheese, garlic, and other ingredients
  • beating and folding batter
  • peeling fruits, vegetables, and hard boiled eggs by hand
  • setting the table

Older children, aged 8 to 11 years, can assist in the kitchen with:

  • planning meals
  • following simple recipes
  • gathering ingredients for meals
  • peeling fruits and vegetables using a peeler.
  • using heat on a stove, oven, microwave, or other cooking appliances

For children 12 or older, they can further develop their cooking skills by:

  • trying more complicated recipes
  • using their creativity to develop new recipe ideas
  • learning to use more complicated kitchen equipment
  • Improvising when an ingredient isn’t available
  • experimenting with new flavor profiles

To get started cooking as a family, here are a few favorite Allegro recipes:

Honey Garlic Stir Fry
Open Faced Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Southern Slaw and Mexican Cornbread
Honey Garlic Shrimp and Vegetables
Tennessee Whiskey Stuffed Bell Peppers
Zach’s Raspberry Jalapeno Stuffed Chicken