Young Chefs
September 1, 2014  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Cooking is travelling in time and to different parts of the world. Cooking implies reading and knowing your math, it cultivates your self-esteem and creativity. It improves fine motor skills, sociability and according to nutritionist and dietician Susan Moores, also a spokesperson for the American Dietetics Association, children who cook are more open to trying different food and are more conscious of the value of nutrition and healthy eating. We´ll give you a run-down on all the benefits cooking has for children and the ingredients you´ll need to inspire them.

Cooking Together. Motivating your children to share something as important as making food gives them the responsibility they crave. Remember that children should learn to share chores at home and the more they participate, the more fun they´ll have. Especially if they´re doing it for the entire family.

Self-Esteem. Recently, we wrote about the importance of cultivating a healthy self-esteem so children can become better problem solvers, be more realistic and enjoy life better. And that mental image of themselves begins now, during their early years. In order to follow instructions and accomplishing a task reinforces their self-esteem and motivates them to continue learning. Children will feel so proud of themselves when they can say: “I made this!”

Math in the Kitchen. Cooking teaches children to exercise their fine motor skills and yes, they learn math at the same time. Cooking entails calculating, adding, and measuring ingredients. They even learn how to do fractions. If your little one needs a bit of extra help with their math, the kitchen is a great place to do it. They´ll certainly have more fun cooking than doing their homework.

Fine Motor Skills. Children can help you cook starting at an early age but you must know what they are mentally and physically prepared to do. If your children are 5 and under, they´ll be able to shake, cut (green beans with their hands, for example), peel, wash, measure and mix with their hands. Remember to give them the time they need to accomplish their tasks. If you pressure them, they´ll end up feeling frustrated.


Playing Chefs. A good idea to get your children motivated to learn to cook is by letting them play with educational toys such as Frutilandia or Chocolandia. They´ll be able to make delicious chocolate figures to eat or wrap up and give to their friends. Chocolandia comes with 6 different moulds.

Reading.  Cooking is a great way to show your children the benefits of reading. Thanks to this important skill, they will be able to follow instructions and carry out their goals. Besides encouraging them to read the recipes out loud, get them to write their favourite ones and create their very own recipe book.

Culture and Origin. Cooking is an open window to the world thru taste, smell and ingredients. Try recipes from different parts of the world and encourage them to learn about other cultures. It´s equally important for them to learn where the food they eat comes from. Tomato sauce doesn´t necessarily come from a can and ice cream doesn´t magically appear in the frozen section of the supermarket.

Healthy Eating.  They say you are what you eat. So, the healthier your eating habits are, the happier and healthier you will be. Try to avoid pre-cooked meals and fast food and talk to them about the benefits of eating healthy. Help them find nutritious recipes and discover veggies and fruit. Remember that children who learn to eat well will continue to do so in their adult life.

Are you prepared to put on your aprons and get to work? You´ll need two very important ingredients: time and patience.

Download these fun activities and games for young cooks and check out these easy recipes.

Which are your favourite recipes? Share your experience with us.


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