The home kitchen is where everyone’s culinary journey begins.
I recall my first time in my mother’s kitchen as a child. All the shiny pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils were right where I could reach them, and it’s from here that my life-long culinary journey began!
The moment you decide that it’s time to teach your kids to cook is when your little chef starts their adventure, and your home kitchen is where the magic happens!
To get them started, your little one will need an operational base. While your home kitchen is probably perfectly suited to meet your needs—it may need a few adjustments to make it a safe and convenient environment for your kids to start cooking in.
Making your kitchen kid-friendly is simple! In this post, I’ll be taking you through a few tricks I’ve learned that can make your kitchen the ideal cooking space for your kids :)
Keep the space clean and well-lit
A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen (for both you and your kids).
The first step to prepare the kitchen for your kids is to make sure it’s a clean and safe environment.
Keep all the utensils and surfaces they’ll be using clean, and make sure the space is well-lit so it’s easier for them to navigate and pay attention.
Introducing your child to a clean kitchen teaches them the importance of maintaining a hygienic environment for their food. It will also encourage them to clean up after themselves and leave the space just as spotless as they found it.
Make sure everything they need is accessible
The next step to making your kitchen kid-friendly is making sure everything is in the right place, and within your child’s reach, so you can avoid any mishaps.
Check that any knives they’ll be using are sharp and kept in a place where your little ones can access them carefully. If your kids are still too young or if you’re not comfortable with them handling sharp objects—place the knives out of their reach. This makes it easier for you to supervise them while they learn to wield these important kitchen tools.
Back when I started cooking with my son, he’d always leave his utensils in random places in the kitchen and have trouble finding them later!
Kids can get distracted/excited while in the kitchen and forget where they leave their utensils. Try creating a drawer in your kitchen where your kids can keep all their tools and access them whenever they need to.
Make sure you also teach them to always put things back where they found them. Whether this is their tools back in the drawer or making sure they close the fridge, the little things add up to make a much more confident chef!
When everything is in the right place, your child will feel more comfortable navigating the space while cooking.
Always have a good set of potholders!
The kitchen is home to many hot surfaces that you definitely don’t want your kids to come in contact with.
Thankfully, a nice, dry set of potholders can help you ward off kitchen burns and accidents.
Teach them to always use the potholders when they want to pick up something hot and make sure they never use the potholder when it’s wet—wet potholders will conduct more heat!
Take a good look to ensure that your pots are in good shape before your kids use them. You can even invest in some covers for your handles. This way, your pots will always have a safe spot for your kids to grip.
If your kids are nervous about handling hot pots and pans, demonstrate it for them and show them how potholders can keep them safe.
Last but not least, don’t forget to teach your little ones to always turn off the stove and oven before they leave the kitchen. It’ll definitely take some of the I-left-the-stove-on stress off of you!
Have the right cutting board ready
If your child is old enough and you’re comfortable with them using knives—it’s time to invest in a sturdy cutting board.
A good kids’ cutting board will make a great and affordable gift for your little one! Make sure the board is the right size for your child to handle easily, and that it does not slip while they are cutting.
I recommend placing the board on a small towel to give it more traction on your kitchen counter.
Make sure your child can reach the counter
If your child is too small to reach the counter, get them a small stool to stand on.
Pick a stool tall enough so that your little one can reach over the counter safely and comfortably without having to stretch too far.
I recommend using a stool with rubberized feet to prevent any slipping.
Adjust the water temperature in your kitchen
Your child will be using a lot of water during the cooking process and while cleaning up. Adjusting your water to a safe and comfortable temperature will prevent any accidents from happening.
You can also teach your child how to set the right temperature themselves by mixing hot and cold water. This way, they’ll always be mindful of the temperature while handling the kitchen sink (potholders won’t help them here, unfortunately).
The area near the sink is susceptible to splashes, so I like to place a rubber mat on the ground to avoid slipping.
While we’re on the subject of sink etiquette—when it’s time for clean-up, teach your little ones how to wash their utensils without wasting too much water. It’s easy on your bills and it’s an important lesson in water conservation for the future generation :)
Cleaning up may not be the most exciting task, but you can make it more fun with some music, sponges that are colorful or cut into fun shapes, or even a dish soap dispenser with strategically fun stickers on it! These little touches can turn any chore into a game (I speak from experience).
Your kitchen is now ready for adventure!
Now that your kitchen is ready and waiting for your kids—it’s time to take on a new cooking project and make way for many more!
The kitchen is a great place to spend time with your kids and baking is an excellent way to bond while having fun at the same time!
Baking with my kids has always been an activity we love doing together. There’s nothing that helps us connect and establish some common ground like experimenting in the kitchen and making our favorite baked goods!
There are a ton of tasty things you can bake with your kids—cookies, cakes, and muffins (yum!)—and they’re all very easy to make. One of my personal favorites, however, is a classic—bread!
Baking bread with kids can be a lot of fun for both parents and kids. It’s a lot like making something for arts and crafts class, your kids can have fun molding the dough into all kinds of shapes. It’s a great activity that will keep them occupied and entertained for hours.
Before you begin, here’s a little look into what you can expect and some tips to make it a great experience!
Decide what kind of bread you want to make in advance
There are many different types of bread you can make with your kids, like cornbread and whole-wheat bread. Some of these may be a little complicated for kids, especially if they’re new to baking, so start with something simple like banana bread or a bread roll.
After you’ve picked a few simple recipes—gather your ingredients. Most types of bread have a similar foundation and it’s likely that many of the ingredients you need are already in your pantry!
Then, give your kids a little bread menu—with pictures—and let them pick which one they want to bake. This helps them get excited about the process of baking and the final product.
It helps to have a selection of fruits like berries and bananas ready, just in case your little chef wants to experiment with some tasty combinations! Fruit in bread is like sprinkles on a cupcake in my experience baking bread with kids.
It’s time to have fun with the dough!
Now that you’ve made your decision, you can get started.
Once all the ingredients are mixed in, it’s time to knead the dough.
If there’s one thing I know kids love—it’s playdough. Just like playdough, bread dough is flexible and can be shaped in many different ways.
Now, this is the part your kids will absolutely love! Let your kids experiment with the dough. Let them get a feel for it and watch them shape it into their own works of art. You can even join in on the fun and make your own shapes!
This is the best part of baking bread—in my opinion at least :)
Mistakes happen and it’s perfectly fine
Once your kids have molded their bread dough, it’s time to pop them in the oven. Make sure you chaperone this part and teach your kids the basics of oven safety.
Sometimes the bread might not turn out as planned—and that’s completely fine! Let your kids know it’s okay to fail; it’s all a part of the experience. Let them try as many times as they like and encourage them to look for different recipes.
As a baker, I’ve learned more from my little failures in the kitchen than I have from my triumphs. What truly matters is that you and your little ones have a great time baking.
Baking bread can get a little messy—and that’s okay!
It’s tough keeping your kitchen clean when you’re baking bread with kids—the first few times, it may even be difficult to identify kitchen surfaces that aren’t covered in flour!
Just keep in mind that the mess is all part of the process when you’re baking bread with kids and it’s totally expected.
While baking, your kids will make a little mess here and there. Teach them that it’s okay to make a mess while baking as long as they bake safely, have fun, and clean up after themselves.
Cooking isn’t done until the sink’s empty!
After a fun session of baking bread, it’s time to clean up the kitchen. For me, cleaning up is just as important and enjoyable as the baking process.
Your kids may find cleaning up a bit dull, but creating a game out of it will give you another opportunity to spend more time with them.
Try having a little contest with your kids to see who can clean up the kitchen the fastest. This way they’ll have fun while they learn to clean up!
Once they’ve gotten used to cleaning up after themselves they’ll be much more independent and confident in the space.
Baking bread with kids has never been more fun!
Baking bread is a great way to spend time with your kids and help them learn their way around the kitchen.
Always be patient with your little bakers and show them how to do things the right and safe way. As time goes by, your DIY kids’ cooking classes will teach them to be more independent in the kitchen and become more confident in their baking skills.
I hope you have fun baking bread with your kids as much as I have with mine, and I hope this is the start of many more kitchen adventures for your family!
Good luck on your future baking adventures :)
For many parents, today, spending time with their little ones in the kitchen and showing them the ropes is a beautiful and meaningful way to bond.
Even for me, getting on the same page with my kids was easier when we were chatting and hanging out in the kitchen :)
If you want to introduce your children to the kitchen and want to make sure their first experience is one they’ll always remember, you can’t go wrong with baking! Based on the countless lessons I’ve organized for kids, I know that many have a natural knack for it.
That said, there are a few things you need to know before you get started, especially if this is a passion you want to nurture. They say first impressions matter, and it’s true even in the kitchen!
If you’re stressed out, unprepared or don’t have enough patience for your little ones, you’re not going to create an experience they’ll want to repeat.
Make sure you’re following a few kids’ baking tips I’ve picked up over the years and use them to show your kids the joys of baking :)
Let your kids choose the recipe
As well-meaning parents, we tend to make decisions for our kids even without meaning to. If you’re embarking on an exciting baking project with your little one, put the power in their hands and let them choose a recipe they’re excited about :)
I’ve seen that this little step gives them a sense of ownership over this process. You can be sure they’ll be much more invested and excited about the outcome!
If you only want to make sure that your kids choose something practical, choose a few recipes you think they’ll like and ask them to choose one.
Expect things to get messy—and show your kids that that’s okay
A messy kitchen is something many of us hate seeing, especially after a long day’s work! That said, you need to understand that getting messy is all part and parcel of baking with your kids.
Make sure your little baker understands that messes are natural and that it’s completely fine as long as it doesn’t get in the way of baking safely.
When you combine this little nugget of advice with teaching them the virtues of cleaning up (more on that in my next point!), you take them through the joys and responsibilities of baking things you love to eat.
Dear parents, don’t skip the cleanup!
Anyone who’s had their kids do classes with me or follows my blog knows that I love talking about this all-important cleanup, just as much as I love to do my baking :)
Your kids are naturally going to find the cleanup boring, but it’s a great opportunity for you to make sure they understand that there’s a little bit of work that goes into doing what they love.
When you make clearing up after themselves part of this learning journey, they pick up on the sense of responsibility they need to become great cooks and bakers.
Make sure you’re setting an example
Something I’ve realized is very important for any parent teaching kids their way around the kitchen is leading by example.
If you give your kids certain instructions, really drive in the message by committing to those steps yourself. This is especially important when it comes to things like kitchen safety basics—if your kids don’t see you do it, chances are, they’re not going to do it either.
My tip to parents trying their kids out in the kitchen for the first time is to make sure your kids see you doing the right things, following the recipe carefully, and waiting patiently for the results. This way, they’ll learn everything they need to know!
Good luck with your next kids’ baking project
I hope the tips I’ve outlined make your next baking adventure with your little ones much more successful in all the ways that matter :) What’s most important is that you have a great time.
In this process, don’t forget to take the time to enjoy the goodies you whip up with your kids!
When it comes to teaching your kids any new skill, quick and easy is the way to go!
It’s easy on their attention span, your patience, and your nerves.
I’ve personally always found the kitchen to be my happy place and my center of calm :) Lots of happy memories have taken place in my kitchen with my kids, and a lot of those moments involve cake decorating.
The entire cooking and baking process is definitely an exercise in creativity, but if I had to choose one part of your kitchen adventures where you can really let loose, it would be cake decorating!
Taking a plain cake or cupcake and transforming it into any number of things can be magical for kids and adults alike.
I’ve definitely had (more than) my share of fun coming up with novel ways to decorate cakes and cupcakes for my kids’ baking classes. It’s been one of the best upsides to teaching cake decorating for kids.
Here are some of my favorite ideas so far :)
Kids are picky eaters. Some of them have an insatiable sweet tooth and some of them can’t be plied away from the savory.
Whichever one of these traits (or both) you’ve seen in your kids, being the parent of a picky eater is a challenge.
The fun bit about these mini cheeseburger cupcakes is that they taste sweet but they look like sliders you’ve made for the fourth of July! This means both your sweet and savory eaters can participate in this round of easy cake decorating for kids.
My version of these cupcakes also includes my no-bake chocolate cookie recipe, which is a win-win in my book!
Spaghetti and meatball cupcakes
These cupcakes are adorable and work on so many levels. Adding googly eyes to any recipe is an easy and adorable way to immediately take cake decorating with your kids to another level!
These are great for spaghetti parties at home, but the combination of realistic, sauce-covered meatballs, paired with the googly eyes and spaghetti, also makes it a great idea for Halloween-themed events!
The different textures and layering involved in decorating these cupcakes make it a fun exercise for little baker as they learn new techniques and gain more confidence in the kitchen.
Buried carrot cupcakes
If you hadn’t already guessed, making food look like other food is a personal favorite of mine :P
We all know getting your kids to eat their vegetables is a tall ask. This recipe may not actually get vegetables in your kids (sorry parents), but it might just make them a little more enthusiastic about the prospect of carrots.
These cupcakes are a great idea for all your summer picnics whether they’re in your backyard or out at the park!
I love making my cupcakes with carrot cake batter to add to the theme. This way you can even get some carrots into your kids—albeit covered in frosting :)
Teaching your kids how to decorate their baked goods with fondant hearts opens up all-new avenues for their decorating.
Whether you’re baking for Valentine’s Day, a birthday, an anniversary, Mother’s Day, to brighten up someone else’s day, or a picnic—fondant hearts work in almost any scenario!
Teach your kids how to use food coloring to customize each heart and they’ll craft the perfect fondant heart messages for hours.
Cake decorating for kids is sweet and savory!
My one and only rule when it comes to cake decorating for kids (other than cleaning up after yourself and always maintaining a clean workspace) is to have fun.
Your cakes, cookies, and cupcakes can look silly as much as they can look beautiful and they’re delicious no matter how you spin them.
Once you have the main techniques down, the possibilities are endless and your kids will surprise you with their decorating ideas in no time at all.
What are you waiting for? Start decorating!
Before founding Bake Austin, Pascal Simon earned her degree as a Pastry Chef from the prestigious Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. A mother of two, Pascal is passionate about cultivating the next generation of bakers and welcomes children from all schooling backgrounds, whether public, private or homeschooled.