Getting Kids Into the Kitchen

3. Bean bags: Fill a couple of ziplock sandwich bags with dried beans, offer a target and allow a little bean bag tossing.

4. Pretzel animals: In a big bowl mix together 1 package yeast, 1.5 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt. Stir in 4 cups white flour and 2 cups of whole wheat flour, knead on a counter dusted with flour until the dough is smooth. Shape into animal shapes, brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

5. Muffin mixes: You can find some wholesome ones that require only an egg and milk to be added. An easy project with quick results.


For older children:

Older children will enjoy a little bit more responsibility and sophistication in their kitchen projects. It may be that now they are tired of hearing about which foods are good for them and which are not. Other aspects of food may help keep them interested while deepening their knowledge of food. One interesting approach is the cultural one. A very memorable evening at our house was one cold rainy night renting the movie Ghandi and ordering take out food from the local Indian restaurant. The food was wonderful, and very different from our normal fare. The kids were more willing to try it than under normal circumstances, and they were able to make a much better connection between the food and its people. This same idea can be applied to any age group. How about Mary Poppins and a tea party with scones and tea? The Sound of Music and some cheese fondue would be wonderful fun.


Here is a fondue recipe that contains no wine (like the traditional recipe) and is easy enough for most kids to make, or help make. Fondue is the French word for "melted" and it originated in the French speaking part of Switzerland (the country to which the Von Trapps escaped to).

Fondue Recipe


  • 2 cups of low fat milk
  • 1 pound grated Swiss cheese
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Cubes of sturdy bread, like French


1. Heat the milk in the top of a double boiler until simmering.

2. Mix the flour and the grated cheese (it helps keep the cheese dispersed while melting instead of ending up in a big blob to sink to the bottom of the milk).

3. Drop the cheese by handfuls into the hot milk and stir until the cheese is all melted and bubbly.

4. Place the double boiler (or put into a fondue pot) and put in the middle of the table with the basket of bread cubes.

5. Using fondue forks or regular forks, spear the bread and dip into the cheese.

The economic approach: This is a bigger project and will take lots of involvement on your part. Give your child a certain sum of money and allow him to plan, shop, and prepare a meal. Some preparation for this is to make sure you have some kid friendly recipes around the house for him to use. A particularly favorite book my children (now 11 and 13 ) have been using for the past three or four years is a cookbook written by kids. It is called Kids Cook! By Sarah and Zachary Williamson. There is a section on kitchen safety, useful utensils, and kitchen terms. Yummy recipes we have enjoyed include oven fried chicken, Faux Lasagna, and Dad's Belgian Waffles.This can be a good experience learning about the price of food, why some people may end up going hungry, and how difficult it can be to make a budget work.



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