You’d be hard-pressed to find a kid who doesn’t get excited about helping out in the kitchen. The biggest perk to having kids prep and cook dinner is that participation makes them much more open to trying new things—even veggies. When they create something cool, they feel proud and you get a little break in the kitchen, which in our book is a win-win.
Getting Them Involved
- Engage kids from the start. If there’s time, ask if there’s anything they’d like to make—a favorite family recipe, perhaps, or something they select from a cookbook.
- Get kids to the kitchen when you’re beginning a recipe and stand little ones on chairs if necessary so they can see what you’re doing. Let them measure, mix, stir, and season as much as possible. Even though you’ll need to mind and manage all the knives and hot surfaces (ovens, ranges, grills), you’ll be surprised at how much they can do.
- Making cooking a game with adding ingredients, reading recipes, and taking turns mixing—and tasting—keeps kids attention.
- Choose dinners with few ingredients—we love when there are five or less.
- Make-ahead meals are great to do in the morning. Marinate meat or set a slow cooker together and come dinnertime they’ll be thrilled to see how the dish has progressed.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. New ingredients aren’t as scary at the table when they’ve had a chance to look them over ahead of time while cooking. You never know what will be their new favorite!
- For placemats, lay out white paper and let the kids draw or write out the words of all the ingredients they used in the dinner.
Easy Dinner Ideas
Arrange toppings and salsa in bowls for a help-yourself taco bar
If you have budding little chefs, give them the Betty Crocker’s Kids Cook!
cookbook full of fun recipes and ideas. Plus, find specially designed kids’ kitchen tools and mixing equipment to make tasks easier and safer online at the Betty Crocker® Store