The Advantages of Cooking and Baking with Children at Home


Do you have difficulties to manage cooking time? A short time to prepare the foods while children need some attentions, is situation that often found in family daily life. Especially with baby or toddler in it. If take children to sleep were not the option, then we can give children some activities that keep them busy.

What kind of activity?

You can give your children time to take free play. Let them choose whatever play or toy they want to do. But it is not always the solution, isn’t? Children can be easily bored by their already ‘played for many times’ activities or toys.

If these are the cases, just try to involve the children into the kitchen activities. Is it dangerous? Of course parents can put the safety first. To do this, other than make the activities under our supervision, we should also consider age appropriate task and equipments.  

Age appropriate task: tear vegetable leaves
For 2-3 years old children we can supervise them to rinse vegetable (or fruit), tear vegetable, pour ingredients, mold, or simply give them small amount of vegetables to do whatever they want to do. For children age 4-6, we can give them opportunity to measure ingredients, cut with age approriate knife (butter knife or specially made knife), pour, mix, peeling skinny food (egg, fruit, banana, etc), and serve foods in simple way.

Develop motoric skills: making the dough
For older children, they can be more independent to read and follow the recipes. They also can select ingredients and use various kitchen equipments. If they ready, we can also give them opportunity to help wash the dishes.

Age appropriate cooking and baking activities, positively influence children. A  research about programmed cooking activities in schools showed that cooking programs can influence children’s food-related preferences. Such as preference toward vegetables and fruits lead to more healthy foods and habits (Hersch, Perdue, Ambroz, & Boucher, 2014). But cooking or baking at home doesn’t has to be programmed or structured. We can just go with the flow, looking forward what ingredients are available and what activities can be engage.

Cooking and baking activities set opportunity for bonding between children and parents, strenghten by interaction throughout the activities. Children can feel and memorize them as fun experience with their parents. These activities also can serve a fun way to train children to follow direction and gain confindence. The mastery of cooking or baking skills can boost their self-efficacy, that believe that they can (Leslie&Barbara, 2013). But do not expect children to do the job perfectly or nearly well as adults. Praise them for their effort and intention to help.

Identifying shapes: mould dough into pieces with shapes

Cooking and baking activities also serve a great way to develop children’s fine motoric skills. For examples through tear spinach leaves, crack eggs, and mould dough. Children also can learn about taste, smell, colour, and shape since they encounter directly with various vegetables, fruits, and ingredients. Basic mathematics can be taught also through measure the ingredients, count fish, and count donuts that have been made.

Counting: How many donats will we make?

And guess what? We can also explain about science! There are so many real life example of science in kitchen activities. The change of colour, the swell of dough, create colour from other colours mixture, and the change of food forms. We can explain how these phenomena can happen. We can explain in simple way for younger children, fitting their understanding.

It is an idea that not too difficult we can attempt to. We do not need expensive materials or tools. We can use what we have in our kitchen and ask children what activities they want to do. So, let's cook kids!



Hersch, D., Perdue, L., Ambroz, T. & Boucher, J. L. (2014). The Impact of Cooking Classes on Food-Related Preferences, Attitudes, and Behaviors of School-Aged Children: A Systematic Review of The Evidence, 2003-2014. Preventing Chronic Disease 2014. 11. 140267. DOI:

Leslie, C.S.& Lohse, B. (2013). Cooking with Kids Positively Affects Fouth Graders’ Vegetable Preferences and Attitudes and Self-Efficacy for Food and Cooking. Childhood Obesity 2013. 9 (6): 549-556.

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