Today, I’m excited to share some tips on a topic close to my heart: introducing cooking skills to our little ones.

Cooking isn’t just about preparing meals; it’s a life skill that fosters independence, creativity, and a healthy relationship with food. As parents, we have the wonderful opportunity to instil a love for cooking in our children from a young age, setting the stage for a lifetime of culinary adventures.

In this blog post, I’ll be talking about why I think it’s so important to get your kids talking about food and thinking about cooking. I’m also sharing some cute computer games you can use to start the conversation.

So grab your aprons and let’s get cooking!

Why introduce cooking skills to young children? Benefits of cooking with kids

Cooking with children isn’t just about preparing meals; it’s an enriching experience that offers so many benefits for both kids and parents alike.

Encourages Healthy Eating Habits

Introducing children to cooking early on provides an opportunity to educate them about nutritious ingredients and balanced meals. When kids are involved in the cooking process, they are more likely to try new foods and develop a preference for healthier options

By cooking together, families can lay the foundation for a lifetime of good eating habits and a positive relationship with food!

Fosters Creativity and Confidence

Cooking is a creative outlet that allows children to express themselves while experimenting with different flavours and textures. When kids are encouraged to contribute their ideas and preferences to recipes, they feel empowered and confident in their abilities!

Whether they’re mixing ingredients, decorating cupcakes, or plating a dish, cooking allows children to showcase their creativity and take pride in their culinary creations.

Teaches Important Life Skills

Cooking is a fundamental life skill that goes beyond the kitchen. By involving children in meal preparation, parents can teach valuable lessons about planning, organisation, time management, and following instructions. 

Cooking also helps children develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and basic maths and science concepts. 

These skills are essential for success in school and everyday life, making cooking an invaluable learning opportunity for young children.

Strengthens Family Bonds

Cooking together as a family creates opportunities for quality time and meaningful connections. Sharing the experience of preparing a meal fosters a sense of teamwork, cooperation, and communication among family members. Whether it’s laughing over spilled flour, reminiscing about family recipes, or sitting down to enjoy a meal together, cooking strengthens family bonds and creates lasting memories that children will cherish for years to come!

Cooking with kids offers a wealth of benefits that extend far beyond the kitchen. From promoting healthy eating habits to fostering creativity and confidence, teaching cooking skills to children is a rewarding investment in their future well-being and development. 

So roll up your sleeves, gather your little sous chefs, and let the culinary adventures begin!

Using computer games to talk about cooking

While there’s no substitute for hands-on experience, I’m a fan of using multiple mediums to reinforce the topics I want my children to learn about – such as food!

Using computer games to help kids get the hang of cooking before they dive into the kitchen is like giving them a super fun sneak peek into the world of food. 

After all, our children are born into the generation that spend so much time on screens anyway. I’m not totally against screen time – rather, I’m very pro using screens for education and to introduce new topics to my children in a controlled way.

Here’s why it’s such a great idea:

Benefits of computer games in the kitchen

First off, these games are like a safe playground where kids can goof around with ingredients and kitchen tools without worrying about making a mess. They can tap, swipe, and click their way through virtual fruits, veggies, and spices, getting to know what they look like and what they’re called.

Then there’s the fact that these games are like having a virtual cooking coach right at your fingertips. They’ll walk kids through all the steps of cooking, from slicing and dicing to stirring and baking, in a way that’s easy to understand. It’s like having a mini cooking class right on your computer screen!

Plus, these games are a total blast for kids. With bright colours, catchy tunes, and fun challenges, they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even realise they’re learning. 

I want to point out that all screen time is controlled and monitored in our house. I don’t give my children unlimited access to screens, and I also use games as a bonding time. So I will sit and play with my little ones, and have conversations about what we’re seeing on screen. 

Get talking!

Which brings me on to the thing I love most about educational cooking games: they are awesome for sparking conversations about food and cooking! I like to use these games as a jumping-off point, and we will often take our conversations away from the iPad and off around the kitchen, or even into the supermarket, to further explore the foods we’ve seen on screen.

So if you’re looking for a fun way to get your kids excited about cooking, why not give these computer games a try? They’re a great way to spark their interest and get them ready to rock the kitchen like little culinary pros!

My recommended computer games to introduce young children to cooking

I recently discovered this blog that has a whole host of food- and cooking-themed games for all ages. After whiling away a good few hours (ahem, engaging in important research!) I whittled the selection down to a few favourites that were a big hit with my five year old.

Go to Market

Go to Market is a shape matching game where children have to identify different food items in a supermarket trolley and drag them to the correct shadow.

Shape and shadow matching games are a delightful way to engage young children while boosting their cognitive skills. These games seem simple to us adults (and they are!), but they offer a host of benefits for our little learners and should not be overlooked! 

Firstly, shape matching games help improve visual discrimination skills, teaching kids to spot similarities and differences between shapes and their shadows. This sharpens their observation skills, laying a solid foundation for future learning in areas like maths and reading. 

Secondly, shape and shadow matching games encourage problem-solving and critical thinking as children figure out which shape fits where.

And in the case of this supermarket game, it gets children thinking about different food and drink items. 

As I said above, I like to use these games as a starting point for conversations about food and cooking with my son. So as he played this game, we talked about all the different items and whether we had tasted them, and what possible meals we could make with the foods in our trolley.

I also showed him the real-life versions of the foods on the screen (where we already had them at home) to help the game come to life and improve his recognition.

Bento Box

Bento Box is another shape matching game. This time the theme is adorable Japanese bento boxes!

There is a range of different boxes to choose from, each one cuter than the last. Some of the items are missing and you have to drag them into the correct spots.

This is a simple game that was easy for my five year old to pick up. What I liked about this game is that it organically sparked some interesting chats. 

Firstly, about Japanese food! Some of the foods were unfamiliar to my son, but the cute designs meant he was very curious, and we drew up a list of new foods to try together (always a win when a kid wants to try something new off their own back, right?). 

Secondly, Japanese bento boxes are famously very healthy and balanced. The bento boxes in this game all showcased a variety of rice, fish, meat and vegetables. This sparked some great conversations about the importance of having lots of different food types and colours on your plate, and what different foods give to our bodies.

If your child is interested in learning about world foods, or simply enjoys simple shape matching games, give this one a go!

Kitchen Word

This game is great for budding chefs to learn the names of essential kitchen equipment. It’s a simple game where you have to match the name of the item to the picture. Items are everyday things you will find in your home kitchen, such as spatula, saucepan, oven mitt and mixer.

This game has two main benefits: learning (and sparking curiosity about) the things we use in our kitchen, and also practising letters and reading! 

My son is just starting to learn to read, so he enjoyed looking at the first letters of the words and trying to figure out what they might be. Younger children will need your help to read the words.

My child was easily able to relate the pictures to things we use in our daily cooking, and he enjoyed running off around the kitchen to find real-life objects to compare to the pictures on screen. It also started some conversations about what we use these objects for and potential recipes we could try to test them out.

Ready to level up your kids in the kitchen?

By harnessing the power of computer games, you can transform kitchen time into an exciting adventure for your little ones. From mastering the names of different kitchen items to fostering a knowledge of healthy eating, these games offer endless opportunities for learning and play.

So, whether you’re slicing virtual veggies or filling your digital shopping trolley, embrace the magic of technology and let the culinary creativity flow.

Get cooking, get gaming, and watch your kids become kitchen superstars in no time!