It’s that time of year when we are busy making lists and checking them twice. Whether our kids were naughty or nice, most of us still want to package something useful, creative, and fun! Read to the end for all of our best cooking gifts for kids!
Why should cooking gifts for kids make the cut?
I think we can all agree that we want our kids to grow up healthy and strong. And research shows that children eat healthier foods when they prepare it themselves! (1) Children can participate in meal prep as soon as they can sit up and hold a spoon! Between the ages of one and two, kids are curious, and they want to copy their parents. Many children are even found climbing the counters to see what’s cooking!
A small child’s time in the kitchen is less about helpful contribution and more about exposure to new foods and activities. Cooking with kids and introducing different flavors through their meals encourages healthy eating. (2) Capabilities will vary depending on your child’s age and their fine motor skill development. Give them some ingredients to stir in a bowl or add to a pan, and you might be surprised by their talents! (Of course, keep choking-hazard foods out of reach until they know to avoid those!)
Let To Taste share our favorite kitchen gadgets that will spark kids to cook at all ages. That’s right – ALL AGES!
Tools for Tots (1 to 3 years)
Create a fun and safe culinary creation station!
- WHOHOLL Wooden Cutting Food Set– Instead of removing little ones from the kitchen when slicing or dicing, set up a toddler meal preparation station with playful knives and foods.
- Farmers Market Color Sorting Set – let kids see all the variety of their plates by sorting different foods by color.
- Kitchen Step Stool – Provides a safe counter height for older tots.
Recipes for Tots
- Banana Overnight Oats – Toddlers want to put everything in their mouths. Capitalize on this moment, by exposing them to new flavors and expanding their palates. Teach little ones to use their senses! Let them stand on the kids kitchen step stool and smell the cinnamon, feel the oats, taste the banana, see the colors, and hear the mixing. Older tots can slice the banana with a butter knife and layer ingredients with some assistance.
- Grain Salad Base Recipe – even though the recipe requires a few non-tot friendly steps, they can still help! Have tots tear apart fresh herbs using their fingers and let them taste test along the way!
Watch this cooking with kids ages 1-2 video for more ideas on how to cook with the youngest of junior chefs!
Tools for Tikes (4 to 7 years old)
It’s time to put those fine motor skills to the test. Tikes can measure ingredients with assistance, learn about dry versus liquid measures, level, pour, and as always, taste test along the way!
- Zulay Kids Knife Set – A best seller for kids taking their first stab at knife skills
- Colorful Measuring Cups and Spoons – Perfect for getting kids excited about measuring ingredients
- Whisk – Combining dry ingredients is easy and a tike favorite.
- Vollrath 2 oz Stainless Steel Disher – tikes love scooping muffin and pancake batter with this ice cream-like scoop.
- Bentgo Box – Make school lunches fun with these colorful boxes.
Any of the tools for tots can be great for tikes too!
Check out this video for some more of our favorite cooking tools for kids.
Recipes for Tikes
- Banana Bread Granola – Yum! A To Taste favorite. Let tikes measure and mix ingredients and spread them on the pan. Let kids have fun building their own parfait with yogurt, granola and favorite fruits for a delicious breakfast or snack!
- Whole Grain Strawberry Banana Pancakes – tikes of all ages can learn how to wash produce, whisk the dry ingredients, and gently stir the batter. Older tikes can dish the pancakes onto the griddle after learning about stove safety.
Tools for Almost Tweens & Teens (8 and up)
Many children completely miss meal preparation during this age because they are often busy with after school activities, sports, and homework. Lure them back to cooking with their own kitchen gadgets! If the weekdays don’t work for tweens or teens, invite them to spend some time in the kitchen on the weekends.
- Wusthof Classic Paring Knife, possibly a Wusthof Classic Chef’s Knife – next level for more advanced teens. Give the gift of essential knife skills and safety with our online knife skills 101 course before they head to college!
- Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board – our favorite all-around cutting board! We love its larger surface area and that it is durable and dishwasher-safe.
- Morgenhaan Professional Measuring Set – Ideal for measuring ingredients and teaching math fractions.
- OXO Liquid Measuring Cups – great for teaching leveling and pouring skills.
- Calphalon Contemporary Non-Stick Griddle – a great piece of equipment for cooking many favorites such as grilled cheese, quesadillas, and pancakes.
- Digital Pocket Thermometer – Is it done yet? Teach the importance of food safety by gifting a digital thermometer, which takes the guesswork out of cooking raw products such as meat and poultry.
Plus any tikes tools!
Recipes for Tweens & Teens
- Homemade Pizza Base Recipe – teach tweens and teens how to create a healthier, more flavorful pizza at home!
- Simple Turkey Meatball Base Recipe – a fun recipe if your child likes getting their hands messy! Plus, they can use their creativity to change the recipe to their taste!
Maybe your child is not interested in eating healthy or cooking, but we’re guessing that if you’ve read all the way through this article, you are! Start a new tradition this year, and stuff a stocking with a kids kitchen tool or toy. The research that there is a positive relationship between kids cooking and healthy eating is valuable, but maybe more important than anything, cook with your kids because it’s quality time together!
The holidays are the best time to share family traditions. We promise the time together will be messy but magical!
To yours and your child’s taste!