What do children learn through cooking?

Open navigator

1. Why should kids help in the kitchen?

Getting your little one helping in the kitchen gives them a hands-on way for them to discover new flavours and new foods, but did you also know that helping in the kitchen can boost your child’s maths, language skills and even their emotional development?

2. Why should I get my kid in the kitchen?

Cooking is fun and enjoyable for children. They get the joy of creating a dish and eating it. Children use all of their senses while cooking; letting them cook helps them to be more comfortable with food and can make them healthier eaters.

Creativity is key in the kitchen - let your child's imagination go wild!

3. Mix in some maths!

This content uses functionality that is not supported by your current browser. Consider upgrading your browser.

Cooking is a great opportunity to introduce some early maths concepts in a fun environment. Think about all the mathematical language and equipment used during cooking; adding, reducing, weighing, scales and measuring. Click on the labels for ideas on how to help your children develop these skills.

4. How will cooking help my child communicate?

Your kitchen is the perfect place to get chatting with your child. If your child can read, get them to read out the recipe while you gather the ingredients and materials needed for the dish. In fact, following the steps in a recipe helps children learn about sequencing—essential for good communication skills.

  • Speak to them about what happens first, next, after, and last while you are preparing the dish.
  • Ask them to imagine what the dish will look like once finished. Will it look like the picture?
  • Use lots of ‘describing’ words while you cook.
  • Using words such as ‘crackle’, ‘fizz',and ‘crunch’ are great for helping your child to practise their communication skills.
  • Get them to use all five senses while they cook. Talk about how things smell, taste, feel, sound and look.
  • Ask them how the mixture turns out once it’s been cooked.

5. How does cooking help emotional development?

Preparing and cooking a meal requires patience and care. You can show your little one that cooking a meal for family and friends is a way of giving and receiving love. Friends and family appreciate the time and effort it takes to make a meal. They also give lots of praise for the chef! Sharing a special family recipe, cooking for a holiday, or making special treats for a friend’s birthday are great ways of creating lasting memories that your little one will treasure forever.

In order for cooking to be a fun activity for you and your child, you will need to plan. Try not to plan a cooking activity with your child if you need to eat in a hurry. Remember, your child is in control. Don’t stress out about the mess made in the kitchen - your child can have fun helping you to clear up. Let them pick an ingredient they like and build a dish around that.

6. Let's get cooking!

So now you know what children can learn through kitchen, it's time to get them in the kitchen!

Use these top tips from chef and dad John Fernandez on making cooking with children a success.