Teach Your Kid to Cook

Here’s how to introduce them to the kitchen at every age

A kid with a chef’s hat, stirring something in a pot.
Jill’s son Oliver cooks bolognese for dinner. Photo: Jill Santopietro

‘Perhaps it’s because we have moved away from multi-generational living, but something has happened where children are not asked to participate in the cooking process, and we wanted to change that.’

Founders of The Dynamite Club
Founders of The Dynamite Club
Dana Bowen, left, and Sara Kate Gillingham founded The Dynamite Shop to engage tweens and teens in cooking for the family. Photo: The Dynamite Shop

The benefits of cooking — pride, confidence, and math skills, too

‘It’s easy to fall into the trap of cooking whatever your kids want whenever they want it. I am speaking from personal experience here. But don’t do it!’

Your house is not a restaurant, and you are not a waiter

Teach kids basic cooking skills

Cleanup is not optional

Plan ahead and keep it simple

Lighten your load—pack it in advance

Kids looking through cookbooks
Kids looking through cookbooks
Santopietro packs lunch for her daughter Liv and her son Oliver and gets a little peace while they eat. Photo: Jill Santopietro

What Your Kids Can Do in the Kitchen — A Guide by Age

4 years and younger

5- to 8-year-olds

9 years old and up

A salad
A salad
Apples, walnuts, and parmesan in a fall salad your kids can make for you! Photo: Jill Santopietro

Jill Santopietro’s Mixed Greens Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Parmesan

Ingredients

Instructions

Grilled cheese and tomato
Grilled cheese and tomato
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup — that your kids can make! Photo: Jill Santopietro

Jill Santopietro’s Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Ingredients

Instructions

Jill Santopietro’s Classic Tomato Soup

Ingredients

Instructions

Andrea Strong is a journalist who covers the intersection of food, policy, business and law. She is also the founder of the NYC Healthy School Food Alliance.

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