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Kids in the Kitchen

Think back to when you were growing up… Had you ever helped your mom or dad in the kitchen? When I was young, I would often bake in the kitchen with my mom. I started off by doing simple tasks. I would look at the recipe and gather everything my mom was going to need, like eggs, flour, vanilla, measuring cups, a mixing bowl and so on, and bring them to the kitchen table. From there, my mom would let me crack the eggs into a bowl and add flour and whatever else was needed to be mixed together, and then I would mix it all by hand.

KidsinKitchenAs I got older, those simple tasks grew into harder, more complex tasks, like beating the eggs with an electric mixer and measuring out each ingredient. Before I knew it, I was baking cookies and cakes on my own (with my mom’s help when it came time to put them in the oven, of course). I really enjoyed baking my favorite: chocolate chip cookies! Since I helped make them a lot, I found them easy to bake on my own once that time came. Baking cakes, on the other hand, wasn’t so easy for me. I needed my mom’s help for a long while when I was a child. I really enjoyed baking with my mother when I was little - and I still do to this day.

Introducing cooking or baking to your child – even if they are as young as three years of age – is a great opportunity to bond with your young one, it’s a wonderful learning experience and it can be a lot of fun (just don’t mind those messes).

Shhh! They’re Actually Learning

There are many benefits to letting your child help you in the kitchen. They learn to follow directions, gain self-confidence and practice their language skills. Learning to cook/bake can also further develop their vocabulary, reading comprehension, counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing skill set. Your little one will also learn measurements, fractions, spatial relations, sequencing, logical thinking, prediction, cause and effect, and chemistry.

It may not even feel like they are learning because they will be more focused on what they are cooking or baking. It’s an educational experience in disguise - and, more importantly, it’s bonding time with your child.

Support Your Aspiring Cook

Sometimes – though we would love to spend an afternoon baking cupcakes with our little ones - there simply just isn’t enough time. No need to worry, there are some great organizations that offer cooking classes for children ages three to 17.

1. Kulinary Kids is Calgary’s first cooking school and store. They teach young people how to cook creative, healthy meals.
Kim Boucher, Owner, says young people learning to cook at a young age are benefiting, because this skill will take them through life.

“It’s a life skill. They become self-sufficient in the kitchen and avoid fast food restaurants because they are able to cook a healthier meal for themselves,” Boucher says.

Kulinary Kids offers a wide range of classes to best suit the aspiring cook. Classes start at $40 a day, and go up to $400 for a four, full-day cooking camp.
“Kids are showing an interest. They come in excited and eager to learn how to cook,” Boucher says.

For more information about Kulinary Kids, visit or contact at 403-276-2433.

2. On Saturdays, Sunterra Market offers ‘Kids Kitchen’, cooking classes for kids that last between 30 to 40 minutes. Children five to 12 are able to attend these classes for only $14.99 a person. Each Saturday, Sunterra teaches a different tasty recipe to young people.

If your child is interested in learning to cook, enrolling them in a class at Kulinary Kids or Sunterra Market is the answer – or if time permits, you can teach them the art of cooking in the privacy of your own kitchen.

Have a ‘Hay’ Day in the Kitchen

When I was young, my mother used to help me make Chocolate Haystacks. This is an easy, fun recipe to make with your little one. There are 80 calories per haystack but never mind the stats because they are oh-so-delicious!

Chocolate Haystacks

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, butter, milk and cocoa. Over high heat, bring to a hard boil. Remove from heat; stir in oats, coconut, vanilla and salt. Drop rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper. Let cool completely and enjoy!

10 Great Cookbooks for Kids

1. Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual, by Klutz®.
2. Retro Kids Cooking: Timeless Recipes for Cooks of All Ages, by Author Richard Perry.
3. Kids Cooking, by Australian Women’s Weekly.
4. Cooking Fun: 121 Simple Recipes to Make with Kids, by Author Rae Grant.
5. What’s Cooking?: A Cookbook for Kids, by Disney PIXAR Ratatouille, with an introduction and recipe by Thomas Kelle.
6. Batter Up Kids Sensational Snacks: Healthy Eats from the Premier Children’s Cooking School, by Author Barbra Beery.
7. Kids’ Baking - Over 60 Delicious Recipes for Children to Make, by Author Sara Lewis.
8. Super-Duper Cupcakes: Kids’ Creations from the Cupcake Caboose, by Author Elaine Cohen.
9. Betty Crocker’s baking with Kids, by Betty Crocker®.
10. Canada’s Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes, by Author Colleen Bartley.

Sarah enjoys food and homemade baking. Her favorite by far is Lemon Meringue Pie.


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