Before you start teaching others to cook, you first need to know the tools and the rules. For beginners, knowing what is available in a kitchen helps their adjustment to the environment.
1. Why cook?
Not only does cooking reinforce reading, math, science and nutrition skills, the kids have fun learning! Cooking with kids takes time, patience and a high tolerance to the “mess.” Do not assume your kids know anything about cooking. If one of your group knows how to do a step, let them demonstrate for their friends. You want them to have a sense of accomplishment and pride when they are done.
Work to create a list of safety rules specific to kitchen activities such as using a knife properly or how to handle a hot pot. Create a master list or poster with your kids that can be kept where they’ll be cooking.
3. Food safety.
Safety is also important for food. If it isn’t handled or prepared properly, it can be dangerous. From washing hands to maintaining a safe temperature for foods, there are many simple things a kid can do. Like the step above, create a master list or poster that shows these rules so they have a reminder.
Get physical items and learn to measure wet and dry goods. Find or create a chart of equivalent amounts including items like four quarts is the same as a gallon and three teaspoons equals a tablespoon. Have the kids test these measurements to help reinforce these ideas.
5. Food groups.
We’ve all seen the pyramid, but the organization changes. Discuss what is in each food group and why it is important that you eat enough items from each food group every day.
6. Recognize ingredients.
You might use senses to recognize ingredients such as smelling spices or feeling vegetables. You might also taste ingredients to get a feel for not only the taste but the textures as well. Discuss different ways a single item can be eaten fresh, combined with other ingredients in a no cook recipe, or cooked.
7. Serving size.
Explaining what a single serving size may be the single most important thing you do. Most kids eat until they’re full, not realizing that it takes time for your stomach to notify your brain that it’s full. Show for each of the different food groups.
Keep track of all the kitchen hand tools you use in a week. Keep your tool list to items that do not need power. Show a sampling for the kids to look at and touch.
9. Tool skills.
Chopping, stirring, combining . . . there are many skills that a cook needs to master. These might include:
- Weighing and measuring ingredients
- Working with timers and thermometers
- Slicing soft ingredients
- Tearing ingredients
- Spreading ingredients
- Using a pestle and mortar
- Stirring and combining ingredients
- Kneading ingredients
- Properly washing fruits and vegetables
- Trimming and slicing vegetables
- Peeling ingredients
- Grating ingredients
- Mashing ingredients
- Beating and folding ingredients
- Rolling out dough
- Grease and line a tin
- Decorating cupcakes and cookies
Choose one or two to practice and determine how you would teach that skill to a kid. You might want to show it as a demonstration when making a recipe or have them help.
10. Use skills.
With the skills they are learning, find recipes that allow them to use the skills they’ve acquired and supervise them through the process.
Look at the appliances a kitchen might have. What do you have in your own kitchen? Discuss what each one does. Which ones are important to have and which are just more convenient? How do safety rules change with these appliances?
- Avery 2” round label printable, 12 up
- Badge checklist
SUPP_Puzzle Fun_SCR_Kitchen Tools_larajla
- Puzzle Fun: Kitchen Tools Scramble
SUPP_Puzzle Fun_WF_Kitchen Tools_larajla
- Puzzle Fun: Kitchen Tools Word Find
Sites to Explore
Get the infographic here > larajla blog post
Get the PDFs of the badge program / supplements here > Full badge PDFs