Works for Me: Cooking with your children!

How many do you find yourself in the kitchen with your little one pulling at your leg? Instead of shewing the kids out, encourage them to help you.  It may be messy and more time consuming, but it the long run your helping the development of your child.  It doesn’t always have to involve the stove or oven.  Let them help make salads, healthy snacks and sandwiches. When your child helps to create their meals they are more likely to eat what they’ve made. Make it fun, they won’t even realize they are learning so much.  By cooking with you they are acquiring literary skills, fine and gross motor skills, math skills, and how to follow directions.  You can even teach geography by intoducing foods from different areas and discussing where certain ingridients come from. Allowing your children to cook with you can also increase their vocabulary and willingness to eat what they helped to create.

Let’s get cooking!

(This recipe idea comes from A Place of Our Own)

What We Learn

This is a great activity to teach about nutrition so that they develop healthy eating habits. They also learn about making choices because often times, children have little or no control over aspects of their lives so this kind of activity really helps them to start exercising their choices. They also are using fine motor skills while making their sandwiches using utensils and adding ingredients.

Supply List

Bread (white bread, wheat bread, pita bread, English muffins)
Cold cuts of meat (turkey, chicken, ham, etc.)
Assortment of cheese (Swiss, American, cheddar, etc.)
Garnish (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, olives, carrots, cucumbers, etc.)
Condiments (mustard, mayonnaise, ranch dressing)
Paper plates




Prepare for the activity by gathering all of the various sandwich ingredients. Put all the bread choices together on one tray, put all the sandwich meat choices on a separate tray, garnish choices on a different plate, and so on.
Give each of the kids a paper plate and encourage them to create their own sandwich, using whatever ingredients they wish to use. Have them select their sandwich ingredients using plastic tongs, rather than their hands. Remember, this activity is all about giving children choices and encouraging them to succeed by allowing them to create their own sandwich in whatever order they want to. If they want to mix up different meats or not use any cheese or garnish, then let them.

After each child has created their sandwich, let them enjoy their meals. Children will be much more likely to eat something if they’ve created themselves. This activity can be a good time to encourage children to experiment with foods by placing out new ingredients they may not have yet explored.

Remember that child care providers should always tailor activities to the individual needs and abilities of each child. Some kids, especially those with developmental delays, will need more help than others.

Creating an open-faced sandwich is a great activity to do even if you only care for one child because it really is an intimate bonding experience that you can have with that one child. You can teach and pass on a lot of information about food, culture, and even the world during this time together.


Letting your kids help in the kitchen does require a lot of patience, but this works for us. To see what works for other bloggers out there check out Rocks in My Dryer.
Try it out and let us know how you incorporate your kids and cooking!

Kalisha and Reneca