Encourage children to join you in the kitchen during the holidays and they’ll have plenty of fun while improving their cookery skills. Get them involved with weighing, mixing and, of course, eating!
The school holidays are the perfect time for kids to get messy in the kitchen. With a little preparation and planning, little ones can soon be helping to prepare food for the whole family or making a special project of their own. We’ve picked 10 fun and easy kids’ cooking projects to get them started.
Remember to always wash hands before and after preparing ingredients, especially if there’s raw meat involved, and never leave your little ones unattended around hot surfaces or sharp knives.
1. Make your own burgers
Any recipe that involves dividing a batch into balls or burgers is a great way of incorporating maths into cooking. Once the kids have helped you to make the mixture, get them to weigh it on the scales and divide the number into the portions for the recipe. Then the fun bit – pat out the burger shapes and get cooking! Try our easy sunshine burgers, delicious Swedish meatball burgers or green burgers as a veggie option.
2. Pack in the fun
Involve the kids in preparing their own packed lunch before a day trip and they’ll be more inclined to eat it, saving you money in the long run. Get inspired with our family picnic recipes or try these healthy lunchbox ideas for kids. Cutting sandwiches into shapes, like these star-shaped sarnies, makes simple food feel more special.
Fussy eater? Lay out a pick & mix pesto pasta salad bar and let them have control over exactly what they want to eat.
3. Pizza faces
Throwing a pizza party for kids is super easy as dough can be divided into individual portions and toppings laid out in bowls. There’s also the chance to weave in some kitchen skills – encourage little ones to knead and roll out their own base, then ask them to help with a homemade pizza sauce. Top it all off by making silly veggie faces with the ingredients.
4. Run a mocktail bar
Keep hydrated and let the kids become mini baristas! Discover a whole range of wonderful mocktails for kids – let them mix their own drinks and serve them to family and friends. They can even make their own handwritten menu! Choose from a vibrant watermelon lemonade, apple, elderflower & mint sparkle or an iced fruit slushie.
Want to keep it simple? Help kids to make a batch of really easy lemonade and they can run an old-fashioned stall in the garden.
5. Play with your food
Create a fun fruit memory game and kids will soon be well on their way to five-a-day! Lay out an assortment of fruit like strawberries, banana slices, apricots, berries or grapes then hide a portion under paper cups. Make a note of the fruits used, shuffle around the cups then guess which cups are hiding the matching fruit, working down the list and eating the fruits when the answer is correct.
Remember, always cut grapes in half before giving them to young children.
6. Create instant ice cream
Introduce science to the kitchen with our fantastic instant ice cream recipe. Adding salt to the ice lowers the temperature, allowing the milk to freeze in minutes – you can have fun throwing the bag between you to keep the mixture moving before dipping in a spoon and tasting your delicious experiment!
7. Holiday at home
Children are more likely to try something new if they’ve helped to cook the meal, so use the holiday season as a chance to discover different cultures and cuisines. Our guide on how to holiday at home will introduce them to new flavours and ingredients – kids can make a minty dip for a Greek-style chicken souvlaki or try shellfish for the first time with a Spanish seafood fideuà paella.
8. Try pastry art
Once a block of shop-bought pastry has been rolled flat into a thin layer, it has a great potential for being poked and prodded into new shapes! Long strips can be twisted into fun pastry snakes or sausage roll twists, or learn how to make a pretty sausage plait.
9. Get baking
For kids that need some persuasion to get into the kitchen, appealing to their sweet tooth is always a good idea. Start with simple iced biscuits or rainbow cookies for younger cooks, then move onto chocolate chip muffins, unicorn cupcakes and even hedgehog rolls to show them other cakes and bakes.
Check out our huge selection of kids’ baking recipes.
10. Roast a chicken
The beauty of a really easy roast chicken is in its simplicity – minimum effort, maximum gain. But there are ways of making the process into a family cooking project. Children can help prepare vegetables to pile around the chicken, then test whether the chicken is cooked, help to create a sauce and watch how the bird is carved. It’s also a good way for them to get their heads around how an oven works, including how hot it can get.
Looking for more school holiday inspiration?
What are your ideas for simple, fun projects to keep the kids entertained? Share your thoughts in the comments below…