Summertime is a great time to cook with so many fresh fruits and vegetables now in season. With a rainbow of colors and flavors to choose from, there are many options to make delicious meals and snacks for your family. As you plan and prepare your meals, invite your child to cook with you and help prepare the meal. Cooking with your child is a great way to spend time together while offering your child many learning opportunities.

Some of the benefits and skills your child will learn while creating a yummy snack or meal with you are:
  • Developing small muscle control and eye-hand coordination as they help chop, squeeze, pour, mix, and measure ingredients.
  • Learning math concepts like counting, adding, fractions, and patterning.
  • Being introduced to reading concepts and new words as you read a recipe together.
  • Exposure to science when parents and caregivers talk about how food grows and changes during the cooking process (boiling water becomes steam).
  • Gaining a sense of pride and confidence as they prepare and enjoy the final product.

For guidance on the tasks your child can do based on their age, click here .

When deciding what meal to make with your child, consider sharing a family recipe. This is a great way to introduce your child to a favorite recipe and have conversations about your family. If your child is not very interested in cooking with you, help them choose a new simple recipe to try. Another benefit to having children help prepare meals is they are more likely to eat what they have made.
Consider trying the following recipes and starting a new summer tradition:
Cookie Cutter Fruit Salad

Mason Jar Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Mixed Berry Smoothies
12 Fun and Healthy Snacks That Kids Can Make Themselves
America’s Test Kitchen Young Chefs’ Club:
Recipes and Cooking Activities for Children Ages 5 & Up
For More Great Ideas visit Child Care Aware ® of Eastern Kansas' Pinterest

Source:  Cooking with Preschool Children