Rainy days and half-term holidays call for some time spent cooking with the kids. This guide includes a taste of everything from savoury to sweet. You know your child best – let them complete any tasks that you know they can achieve unaided, under your watchful eye. Save steps involving sharp knives, blades or scissors for yourself, or older children you judge as capable.
Remember to set some rules, too. Always wash your hands before you start and after touching raw meat, stay organised and be sure to read the recipe from start to finish first. Also, keep your worktop tidy, ensure the kids stand clear of hot hobs and ovens, get them involved with washing up and don't let them run around in the kitchen. Most importantly – have fun.
Teach little cooks to weigh ingredients, cream butter and sugar, and roll out their dough, then let them loose with their favourite (clean!) plastic toys to make their mark on their own completely personalised batch of biscuits. The recipe is particularly good for the littlest cooks as they need only pinch and pull off pieces of dough before rolling it out.
Your child’s first bread bakery lesson doesn’t get any cuter than making a batch of these hedgehog rolls. They’re a great way to start a conversation about how we can sometimes make food like bread from scratch rather than always buying it out of a packet, or from the bakers. Plus, the chance to decorate the hedgehog faces with dried fruit and nuts is irresistible.
Teach the kids how to make a marinade for these colourful chicken kebabs flavoured with lemon and herbs. A box grater is a neat trick for helping little hands grate the cucumber for tzatziki. A few salad leaves, a tortilla to wrap it all up and they’ll be proud as punch to have helped make their own supper.
If you’re after a quick and tasty entry-level recipe to whet the kids’ appetite for cooking, look no further than cheese straws: these require just three ingredients, five minutes’ prep and about 10 minutes in the oven. Children of all ages like cheese straws and you can make them ahead of lunch together with crudités and a batch of hummus to dip them in. Also good for lunchboxes.
No-bake cheat’s doughnuts that are easy to create and even easier to eat. Set up a sprinkles station with different hundreds-and-thousands in little pots and let the kids get stuck in with the decoration. These are obviously a treat and not for every day, but if you’re looking for an eye-catching recipe, they’re perfect for play dates and kids’ parties.
This recipe is perfect for baking with the children because what can be better than shortbread cookies? Well, cookies dunked in two different types of delicious chocolate! This recipe is simple to follow with only three steps that take 20 minutes of prep time. It’s great for batch cooking as it makes up to 15 cookies, but, if you want to save some for later, you can freeze the raw dough.
These delicious muffins are a classic for a reason – each moist bite contains a burst of juicy blueberries. Simple with only three steps. They can be prepped and baked in under an hour.
This dish is excellent for cooking with kids to demonstrate the benefits of leftovers. Children can see how one dish can transform into a completely different and tasty meal, teaching them that waste is not necessary. It is also great for kids to practise their chopping techniques, with only a few ingredients needing slicing: the onions, mushroom and potato.
This vegan take on an Indian classic is an excellent recipe for children aged seven to 11 to take the lead on. There is a clear list of ingredients, including utensils and step-by-step instructions. Parents may need to take more responsibility for handling the hot dish for younger children.
10) Chicken satay
This recipe is taken from food editor Barney’s ‘cooking with kids’ range and is the perfect activity to do together. With instructions for the children in bold, they can feel involved by cooking with you and by practising their reading. The majority of this recipe is spent in prep, so your child can really get busy with it, and then they only have to wait a short 10 minutes to try their masterpiece.
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