If you have a child, chances are they love cooking. It doesn’t matter if they’re watching or helping with a task, children get a thrill out of learning new things. Along with learning many new things, there are other benefits of cooking with kids. Among these are that, children sharpen math and English skills. They improve their concentration and coordination. They learn how to cook healthy meals for themselves and others which is a life skill they’ll find invaluable.
Below we’ll look at 10 benefits of cooking with children.
1. Improved Relationships
I once heard that children spell love as ‘T-I-M-E’. I think this is true. Just like we love spending time with our husband or wife, our children like spending time with us.
And the more time we spend together, the better we get along (this is also very true for homeschooling families who discover, to their surprise, that once they start homeschooling, their kids magically get along!).
Children like spending time with their parents. They love it when they get to learn from their parents and have fun. A great benefit of cooking with kids is that they learn and have fun as well!
2. Fun Learning Opportunities
Children can sharpen their math and English skills when they cook.
Often cookbooks are made with Imperial or Metric measurements. Depending on where you grew up, you may need to convert the amounts to know what to measure.
Cookbooks also have repetitive wording (e.g. Sift flour and baking powder, Peel carrots and zucchini). This is great reading material for children and it encourages them to read confidently.
I had so much fun cooking this cake with my three-year-old below!
3. At-Home Cooking is Healthier than Takeaway
When you cook with your children at home, you promote healthier habits in your family. Most at-home cooking is far healthier as it contains less saturated fat and sugar.
You and your children are more mindful of the ingredients as you measure them out.
Furthermore, you can look up healthy recipes and cook those instead of the unhealthy snacks you usually find in shops, takeaway venues, or restaurants.
4. Reduced Preservatives
Have you ever wondered why your homemade bread only tastes good for a day, but your local supermarket’s bread tastes good for much longer? Or why shop-bought berries outlive the ones you grow in your backyard by a couple of days? That’s because it has tonnes of preservatives.
After hearing the sweet hamburger halves of a Macdonalds burger can outlive some small insects, I am thankful we don’t eat takeaway much.
And one reason is that a lot of takeaway food has way too many preservatives.
But, one of the benefits of cooking with kids is that your food will have fewer preservatives. You’ll teach your kids that you value clean, healthier food too.
5. Opportunities for Deeper Discussions
As you spend time doing anything with your children, you’ll notice deeper discussions happen.
When I listen to the Focus on the Family Parenting Podcast, I often notice the speakers asking parents to give their children (especially their teenagers) lots of time to talk about issues. If teenagers don’t have time, they won’t open up.
A benefit of cooking with children, or teenagers is that there are far more opportunities to have deeper discussions such as:
- is there a God
- what should I look for in a spouse
- how should I behave in this situation
- my friend says x, what do you think, Dad?
- how are babies made?
One of the benefits of cooking with kids is that you will get to know your child better through these conversations. It can also be a wonderful time to teach them about the moral implications of certain actions or coach them on other important subjects.
6. Cooking with Kids Teaches Life Skills
One of the reasons Waldorf education tries to encourage cooking is because it teaches children important life skills. It obviously teaches kids how to take care of themselves in the long run, but it can also teach:
- teamwork as children work with family members
- problem-solving skills as kids have to substitute ingredients
- critical thinking skills which might occur as children work out why the souffle didn’t rise!
As such, baking once a week with your children is a great idea.
7. Children can soon cook for the family
I once heard of a mother with 11 children who said she lived like a queen because she had taught her children to do everything, and now the mother had very few things she needed to do as she had so many wonderful and willing helpers!
We’d all love children like this.
And perhaps this is one of the best benefits of cooking with kids. You can teach them to help you out regularly. Why not give them the responsibility of cooking for the family one night of the week? This will also require them to meal-plan, which is another skill you can teach them.
8. Cooking with Kids Enhances Motor Skills, Concentration, and Control
Neat cooking requires concentration. The younger children are the more concentration that is required.
As children practice the skill of concentration, their motor skills improve and they become better able to conduct fiddly tasks with ease.
9. Encourages Responsibility as Children Clean up after Themselves
We all want responsible children. And one of the benefits of cooking with kids is that you teach them to be responsible.
If they want to cook, they have to make sure they clean up after themselves. And almost all kids want to cook!
10. It Can Be Very tasty!
As a homeschooler, I had oodles of time on my hands. I used some of my time to learn how to perfect some signature dishes like chocolate moose. My parents were always very grateful recipients of the food I cooked.
If you teach your children to cook well, you’ll soon be the beneficiary of some wonderful meals (I cooked a cake for my parents once a week when I was homeschooled – my parents loved it and I loved the praise!).