Have you ever tried cooking together with your child? If you have not yet, we recommend you to give it a try immediately, as it is a great experience for the whole family and we guarantee that you and your child will have unforgettable moments. Cooking with your baby is one of the most creative and simplest ways of sharing great time together, and at the same time, supporting development of kid’s new skills and helping him to understand the importance of eating together. By joining you in the kitchen, your child has a chance to be more involved in everyday family life by taking part in food shopping, meals planning and food preparation. Be prepared that your pre-schooler will be asking you hundreds questions about different things and processes he/she will observe in the kitchen, such as boiling water, using different kitchen utilities, asking about names of different ingredients. Check out this great book about experiments in the kitchen – you can experiment in your own kitchen and teach your kids a little bit of science.
And please do not make a false assumption that cooking activities are perfect way of spending quality time only with your daughter. Involve your son and husband as cooking is a great fun and a way of developing different skills and even teaching some science for everybody! Some people say that the best cooks are men…
It is also a great occasion to explain to your baby why it is important to eat healthy food, generally what “healthy food” means, and why junk food should be avoided. Cooking with your child can develop his/her healthy eating habits at early stage of development.
If you cannot afford to cook with your child very often or your baby is too small or generally not interested in taking part in food preparation with you, search for easiest ways of “cooking” such as: cooking games online and apps or pretend cooking activities. Your kid can use great cooking sets for kids such as “mini kitchen” or even your old kitchen utensils. Cooking toys nurture role play for pre-schoolers and boost their creativity and imagination. They help to develop social skills as they usually require some kind of cooperation with friends or siblings. It is a good starting point for conversation about taking care of others (guests, family). If your kids are “preparing food” for their dolls or friends, always try to increase their interest in healthy food.
Check out also the section about enhancing social skills of your child by playing doctor games and baby caring games.
Regarding games/applications you can find a variety of typical free cooking games online, e.g. Barbie cooking games (have you ever heard of burger games?!) and free cooking games applications (e.g. pizza games, ice cream making games) and also games developing basic management and time keeping skills such as restaurant games.
Please have a look at our short list recommended online cooking games and applications for toddlers, pre-schoolers and older kids and some pretend and play cooking sets.
Cooking games – our recommendations
1. Free applications
2. Mini kitchens for kids
Big & Bright Kitchen – large and made of wood kitchen for kids; it contains freezer, refrigerator, oven and microwave, and easy to clean removable sink.
Cook ‘n Serve Kitchen – it’s also a wooden kitchen , but it has a special serving counter and funny practical chalk boards for putting a menu on it.
Espresso Corner Kitchen with Metal Cookware Set – A great deluxe kitchen of the highest quality with 4 metal accessories such as pans and utensils; it contains oven, microwave, freezer, refrigerator and dishwasher.
3. Cooking sets of pretend cookware for children
Alex Pretend Complete Kitchen Set: It is a great complete kitchen set for older kids (8+) consisting of porcelain tea set (13 pieces) and a baking set (12 pieces)
Check out also these two ones: Disney Minnie Mouse Gourmet Cooking Set and Young Chef Cookware Set (plastic colorful 11- piece set).
4. Cooking with children books
The International Cookbook for Kids
ChopChop. The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family
Check out also our recommendations in the social skills section – different kitchen sets would be a perfect complement of baby carrying toys. Finally your kid will be cooking delicious dishes and sweet desserts for her “baby”. Sometimes our little princesses prefer Barbie over a traditional baby dolls. Check out: Barbie: I can be cooking teacher!