ATK Kids

5 Ways to Spend Quality Time with Kids in the Kitchen

Looking for projects you and your young chef can tackle together? Check out these kid-tested, kid-approved activities and recipes.

Published Apr. 26, 2019.

Cooking and baking are two ways to spend quality (non-screen!) time with the kids in your life. When I was seven years old, I loved gathering with my brothers around the kitchen counter, which our mom had transformed into cookie decorating nirvana. She set out cups of frosting, containers of sprinkles, and pieces of our favorite candies so we could create the snazziest cookies imaginable. We shared supplies and compared designs, showing off our favorites to mom. I always went with the “more is more” approach: a heaping pile of frosting topped with every color of sprinkles we had on hand.

Cookie decorating is a classic kids’ kitchen activity (for good reason), but there’s no shortage of ways to spend quality time cooking and baking with kids, which is why we compiled a list of five kitchen projects you can tackle together on the weekend, during school vacation, or summer break.

1. Have a Jam Session Making Thumbprint Cookies

Baking a batch of Jam Thumbprint Cookies is a great way to get kids of all ages (and skill levels) involved in the kitchen. Little hands are perfect for squishing a thumbprint crater in the center of each cookie sitting on your rimmed baking sheet and filling it with a spoonful of their favorite jam.

2. Conduct an Experiment and Eat It, Too!

Do you know a budding scientist? Have them lead you through a cheesy (literally) experiment. Kids use a chef’s knife (we like this Opinel Le Petit Chef knife for younger kids and the Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro 6” Chef’s Knife for older kids) to cut a tortilla or slice of bread into thirds. Then, they sprinkle one type of shredded cheese—mozzarella, cheddar, or Parmesan—onto each third. After a quick stint in the oven, kids observe how well (or not so well) the different cheeses melted. While munching on a cheesy snack, they can read about the science behind their results.

3. Let them Eat Pie (in a Jar)

If you have a couple hours and a few ripe bananas lying on the kitchen counter, try making Banana Cream Pie in a Jar with your young chef. While making the banana custard, kids learn kitchen techniques such as how to temper eggs (keep that spatula moving!)  and how to separate egg yolks from egg whites. Kids can also crush graham crackers with a rolling pin, or make whipped cream topping with a hand mixer.

4. Make Pizza Night Even Better with Homemade Pizza Dough

The next time you’re thinking of having pizza night, how about making it homemade pizza night? Enlist kids to help make sheet pan pizza using our easy homemade pizza dough, which quickly comes together in the food processor. Kids can stretch the dough onto a rimmed baking sheet before adding sauce, mozzarella cheese, and, of course, their favorite toppings!

5. Have Fun with Flavor and Make Edible Spheres

Want to win the Coolest Adult Ever award? Help your young chef make a batch of edible spheres. Kids can choose what type of liquid they want to make the spheres out ofhot sauce to jazz up avocado toast, chocolate sauce spheres to top an ice cream treat, or fruit juice spheres to sprinkle over yogurt. The secret ingredient? Gelatin. Kids combine powdered gelatin and their liquid of choice and pour the mixture into a squeeze bottle. Then, they gently squeeze droplets of the flavorful gelatin mixture into a chilled container of vegetable oil to create perfect spheres! (The spheres are rinsed before serving and eating.)

These are just a few ideas for you to try, but we believe that any time spent with kids in the kitchen can be quality time. The mistakes and messes made now (my childhood cookie-decorating afternoons usually resulted in a floor as heavily decorated as the cookies) will lead to valuable cooking skills—and memories—that will last a lifetime.

Introducing the Young Chefs' Club

Every month, young chefs ages 5 and up receive a themed box filled with kid-tested recipes, hands-on activities and experiments, and other creative items, such as art projects, achievement buttons, a kitchen tool or special ingredient, and more.  
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