YES! Boys Should Learn to Cook!
Hey Mama! Should boys learn to cook? If you read that title and automatically questioned my authority as a parent, I get it. But do you know there are still stigmas around boys learning to cook?
There are so many essential skills that can be taught in the kitchen to ANY child. If you’ve read about my blog, then you’ll know that I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. It is the hub of our home. I love for my kids to join me and learn as much as they can.
Here are 10 reasons why boys AND girls should learn to cook.
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1. Learning to Follow Directions
I had a teacher who would always say “Following instructions will save your life one day.” I hated it as a 10th grader, but I’ve used that phrase so many times. And it is so true.
Now, following the directions of a recipe is usually not life or death. Sometimes you can tweak and make changes. But you must learn the basics before you can go free style.
The age and temperament of your child will determine how you go about teaching them to follow a recipe. My friend Donna, at Midlife Mamas, lets her daughter follow along with YouTube videos or from a cookbook, like Stir That Shittt Up.
And my friend Caroline, at Picturizedrecipes.com, has developed recipes in an infographic-type style. Her easy to follow images are a great way to help kids become more independent in the kitchen. Read my review post about our experience with Picturized Recipes.
2. Learning Safety in the Kitchen
As Mamas, keeping our kids safe is priority. The kitchen is the perfect learning environment to teach a lot of safety rules.
- How to work with sharp objects: They make kid-safe knives, like this 6 piece set of child-friendly blades. My son loves this set and asks to use it frequently when he’s helping me in the kitchen. He especially likes the wooden chopper to cut the crusts off of his sandwiches.
- Food Handling Safety: This includes hand-washing, checking internal temperatures (get this thermometer!), and checking for dates on packages.
- Using your senses to detect trouble: Teach kids to use their sense of smell to see if something is “bad” or to smell smoke. Feel for bad spots on produce. See mold on bread.
- Working with hot objects: You may not want your little one to handle extremely hot objects, but who says they can’t have fun with their own pair of oven mitts, like this kid-sized pair. Who doesn’t love sprinkles?
3. Doing Kitchen Activities to Teach Math and Science
I’m a science teacher. I love teaching science concepts through our everyday experiences. Here are just a few science and math concepts that fit naturally in the kitchen.
- States of Matter (solid, liquid, gas)
- Food Safety (bacteria, fermentation)
- Reading thermometers
- Measuring everything (add, subtract, multiply, divide)
- Chemistry of cooking
- Biology of cooking
- Making Observations
Get a copy of “Awesome Kitchen Science Experiments for Kids: 50 STEAM Projects You Can Eat!” and try out all 50 activities.
4. Spending Quality Time Together
Kids crave attention and sometimes life gets busy. Getting your kids in the kitchen with you can serve many purposes. One of those is spending quality time together.
Now, if you are a bit of a control-freak, you’re going to have to loosen up a bit. Kids will mess up, make mistakes, and make messes. If you spend this time scolding them or telling them they aren’t doing something right, they probably won’t enjoy this time.
I know it’s hard to give up some of your control, but kids learn from making mistakes. They learn from making messes. They need grace and patience just as much as we do.
Cooking together allows for chances to have conversations about whatever is going on. Sometimes it is easier for kids to open up and talk when they don’t actually have to look at you.
Kids will remember these moments. Who do you remember cooking with as a child?
I asked my Bud “what’s your favorite part about cooking in the kitchen with Mama?” He tapped me on the shoulder and said “You are.” Tissue anyone?
5. Connecting Cultures Through Food
You can travel the world through cooking. Celebrating different cultures can be so much fun.
Our daughter is learning Russian. I found an awesome cookbook for traditional Russian recipes from BookOutlet.com.
If you are looking for a great place to get books at a discounted price, check out BookOutlet.com. Use my referral link and you’ll get $5 off your first order of $25 (oh, and I’ll get $5 credit, too). Seriously, you can get a ton of books for a small amount of money.
Universal Yums is a subscription box that combines history and traditions with foods from countries all over the world. We loved “traveling” to distance lands through each box. It comes with snacks from a different country each month, as well as a booklet filled with fun facts.
You can talk about traditions, geography, history, and of course food, while cooking meals with foreign flavors.
6. Having Fun
Cooking is fun. Get creative. Make masterpieces, messes, and most of all, memories.
Download the FREE Cooking with Kids Journal and keep up with all of these happy memories. You can track recipes you’ve tried, write stories or quotes from the moment, or add photos of the fun.
7. Learning to Use Tools
Tools come in all shapes and sizes. A tool is something that makes a task easier. They don’t always mean wrenches and screwdrivers (although it’s good to learn how to use those too).
- Knives and other utensils
- Electronic Appliances
- Measuring tools
To see all of my favorite kitchen tools, check out my Ultimate List of Kitchen Tools.
8. Sharing With Others
Our world is lacking empathy. Any chance we have to teach our kids to think of others, is important to take advantage of.
- Is there a family member that doesn’t get around in the kitchen very well? Share some of your meal with them.
- Can you bake cookies for a friend or neighbor?
- Clean out the pantry and donate extra supplies to the local food bank.
9. Learning About Healthy Choices
No, those cookies with two sticks of butter aren’t “healthy.” But, is it OK to have sweet treats every once in a while? Sure!
Working together in the kitchen is a great time to talk about making healthy choices. Your own beliefs and values concerning food will determine the choices you teach your kids to make.
- Balanced Nutrition
10. Teaching Independence and Confidence
Kids feel such a sense of accomplishment and pride when they’ve made something special. It’s no different in the kitchen.
Your kids will thank you in the future when they are cooking real meals for themselves and not surviving on fast food and Ramen noodles.
So, go get your kids and get in the kitchen! Don’t forget to get your Cooking with Kids Journal so you can keep up with all the fun!
What are your favorite things to cook with your kids?
Hi! I'm Misty, the imperfect Mama behind Life Between the Dishes. My goal is for you to find tools, tips, and resources here to help you maintain sanity through daily mom life!
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