If you’re a parent, you know that summer activities are essential. Years ago, when our kids were younger, we only had to fear the dreaded words “I’m bored.” Today we fear days wasted away on screens and doing nothing else, or worse, getting into some other type of trouble.
So today I’m sharing an activity that we love to do in our household of six (kids ages 8 to 15) all the time: we cook! Not every day, of course, but enough to get them excited about it. I’ll outline exactly how you can get this started at your house this summer in 6 steps.
Plus, be sure to read on to see how you can make cooking at home with your kids even easier on you than you ever imagined. I’ve got the perfect plan for any busy parents this summer!
6 Steps for Cooking with Your Kids This Summer
- Research Recipes
Making foods that your kids are excited about is the key to this activity. Because isn’t it much more fun to make food that’s exciting (think bread pudding or mac & cheese) vs. something like okra salad? ;) This can be a fun activity in and of itself when given just a little bit of direction. There are so many resources, so find what your child(ren) seem to gravitate towards. Some suggestions:
– Cookbooks (I’m partial to Lisa’s cookbooks, of course!)
– Magazines (even if they are old ones—there are still great recipes within!)
– Old or family-passed down recipes
– Blogs (hello!) ;)
- Plan Days
Try to come up with a theme. Maybe you’d like to do an Italian Day where you pick a pasta, gnocchi, or a homemade ravioli, and tiramisu to round it out. Alternatively, try theming it with a book, like say Dr. Seuss, where you make green eggs and ham and come up with your ideas for Moose Juice and Goose Juice.
It doesn’t even need to be a dinner meal—see where their interest lies and follow their lead. I don’t know many kids who will turn their noses up about making “cooling foods” (it is summer, after all!) like homemade popsicles, ice cream, and even fruit kabobs!
- Create a List
As a grown-up, I know that most of you can appreciate the value in creating lists. We’re taking our idea and putting pen to paper. We’ll map out the ingredients that we need in a rough draft, and then complete it in a nice(r) final copy that we can all take to the grocery store—together! List making is excellent for organization and also for those working on handwriting and spelling.
- Shop Together
Now, now—stay with me here! I’m a firm believer in the benefits of taking your kids shopping with you. From life skills, to reading, and math support, there are so many wonderful opportunities to be found in food shopping with your kids. And let’s face it: it’s part of the process. Food doesn’t generally just end up in our kitchen (unless you do Instacart, or something like that). Someday, your kids are going to have to grocery shop. Today is a good day to get them started with learning how to do it—together!
- A Family Affair
Now for the fun part: it’s time to cook! Get out your aprons and wash those hands. It’s time to cook up some fun! There are opportunities for kids of all ages. Even if they are in a baby sling or on your hip, they are still watching and observing. Kids of older ages can take part based on experience, their knowledge, and of course, your comfort level. Make sure to follow kitchen and knife safety and never leave a child alone while prepping.
- Let’s Eat!
Well, I know I already said it’s time for the fun part above, but now it’s really time to enjoy the fruits of your labor together. Sit down, taste, and converse. What did you like about the experience? Do you like how the recipe turned out? What would you do differently next time? Should you hold onto this recipe to make again in the future? Oh, and since I didn’t mention this yet, no phones allowed while this part occurs!
Try Camp Kitchen
I’ve so loved cooking with my kids over the years. Most of mine love to bake, but they all know how to make foods like pancakes and eggs—great “starter” foods for the blossoming cook. So I created Camp Kitchen—a digital recipe plan to get your kids in the kitchen—after looking for a cooking camp to take them to as well as a more structured activity for us to do together.
Camp Kitchen is a 5-day plan that includes kitchen safety, age-appropriate ideas for kids in the kitchen, tips on making it fun, products to make sure you have, and (the fun part!) 5 themed days, each with 3 recipes and the coordinated shopping lists (and color photos!) to go along with it. Each “day” should be 2-3 hours worth of cooking together.
Each Day Has a Theme
- Day 1: Pizza Day
- Day 2: Baking Day
- Day 3: Salad Day
- Day 4: Soup Day
- Day 5: Breakfast Day
Camp Kitchen is ideal for summer break (or spring, or winter break) when you desire an economical, educational activity. Do five days in a row, or break it up and do one (or two) a week! Camp Kitchen is perfect for homeschoolers, or even for an after-school activity. Cooking is a lifelong skill—why not get started today?!