Get your kids in the kitchen with these 20+ easy recipes to make with your kids. (Plus, lots of ways to include them in the cooking!)
If you’re house is like my house summer = SO MUCH FUN! and also SO MUCH DOWN TIME. We have a good mix of planned and unstructured time, and but just about every day my kids ask to be in the kitchen with me.
Having kids in the kitchen with you can be such a great way to include them in the meal planning, encourage them to try new foods, teach them new skills, and keep everyone busy for a little bit.
Related: Tips for Cooking with Kids
Since I know I’m not the only mom with kids on summer break, here are a few really easy recipes your kids can help with in the kitchen. They’re very forgiving, easy, and delicious!
First, here are some easy ways your kids can help in the kitchen…
Easy Jobs for Kids in the Kitchen
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Here are a few things my kids have been doing since they were big enough to stand on a chair at the counter:
- Stirring or Mixing – Kids love stirring, even if the item doesn’t really need to be stirred (like diced veggies) or a small bowl of chocolate chips. My rule is the smaller the child, the bigger the bowl. The mess will be better contained–promise!
- Pushing Buttons – Food processors, blenders, stand mixers, etc. Obviously, an adult will want to be sure all sharp items are well covered, lids are on, etc. But kids love pushing buttons!
- Moving – My kids started wanting to help in the kitchen before they were big enough to really help. I’d hand Sophie a pair of tongs and have her move the veggies I was slicing to a big mixing bowl, or move them from one plate to another, etc. Milo still loves this job at age 5.
- Sorting – by color, shape, etc. I used to have Sophie make patterns with colors of veggies or fruits, or arrange things biggest to smallest, etc.
- Counting – Count scoops, count chocolate chips, could how many grapes fit in a cup, count to 10 while you mix, etc.
- Arranging – One of my kids FAVORITE kitchen jobs is arranging a fruit plate or veggie plate. They make a fancy design (a pattern, a shape, arrange in rainbow order, etc.) Plus, if they “sneak” a taste, it’s just fruits and veggies!
- Checking Things Off a List – Teaching kids to read a recipe is a great skill! But, when they’re too small for that, you can draw pictures of the ingredients in order and have them color them in or cross them off. Or, I’d verbally have us check off ingredients (“okay, we need chocolate chips” (check!), “flour” (check!), etc.)
- Scooping – Let them scoop out the ingredients from a large bowl to a smaller one, scoop melons with a melon baller, or add pre-measured ingredients to your bowl.
- Slicing* – Even a small child (like 3 years old) can “slice” ripe bananas with a dull butter knife with supervision. It’s a great way to teach them how to hold a knife, where to put their hands, etc.
*For bigger kids, you can graduate to a kids’ knife–this one comes with a finger guard. It IS a decently sharp knife, so you very much need to supervise, but it’s a good beginner option. Sophie just got hers for her 7th birthday.
Easy Recipes to Make with Kids
As for recipes, these are forgiving recipes. That means that a tiny bit too much of something won’t ruin everything, or the mixing doesn’t have to be totally perfect. There’s very little involved “technique” and the recipes themselves tend to be really kid friendly.
1. Energy Bites
We all love these for an easy snack or an easy add-on to lunch if someone is still hungry. You can see all our our energy bites recipes here, but we highly recommend…
- Nut Free Coconut Lime Energy Bites
- Nutella Energy Bites
- Nut Free Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites
- Peanut Butter Pretzel Energy Bites
It’s REALLY hard to mess up a smoothie, especially if you have a basic formula or idea of what you’re going for. If someone accidentally puts a heaping cup of strawberries or slightly not-full cup of strawberries, it really won’t make that big of difference. Try mixing and matching new fruit combinations! Try one of our yummy kid-approved smoothies! We love…
- Pineapple Peach Perfection Smoothies
- Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
- Peach Mango Bliss Smoothie
- Chai Spice Banana Smoothie
4. Build Your Own Trail Mix
This is always a big hit because everyone can build their own! Package them in little baggies to take to the pool, or let everyone build their own little jar or bowl to snack from throughout the week. See some of our favorites in our Build Your Own Trail Mix Bar!
Easy to toss together and difficult to mess up. This is one of the first recipes I had both my kids help with when they were big enough to stand. I could hand them measuring cups full of ingredients and let them mix and match and stir without fear of messing anything up! Mix up one of our tasty Homemade Granola Recipes, like:
6. Dips or Dressings
Everything is more fun with a dip! My kids love helping to make dips. They’re great for chips or crackers, veggies, meatballs, and more! Our favorites:
- Creamy Avocado Ranch
- Guacamole (we’ve got LOTS of ways to flavor it in that post)
- Our Favorite Fresh Salsa (completely mild)
7. Breakfast Foods
Muffins, waffle or pancake batter, scrambling eggs, spreading jam on toast… it all tends to be kid friendly! Tip: when my kids help crack eggs, we crack them into a small bowl one at a time so we can remove any stray shells before adding them to our batter or bowl. I also keep a small towel close by so they can wipe their fingers on it after cracking the eggs.
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (Milo’s favorite!)
- Blender Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes
- Overnight Oatmeal Waffles
- Lemon Berry Oatmeal Muffins
I had to include at least one dessert in this lineup! Most kids love baking more than cooking (who doesn’t love dessert!?) and cookies have lots of kid-friendly jobs. Everyone has cookie recipes they love, but a few of ours are
I’ve got lots and LOTS more kid-friendly recipes in my archives. If you have any questions, just ask! I know that cooking with kids can be a little (or a lottle!) intimidating, and almost always more time-consuming and messy. I don’t include my kids in the kitchen at every meal and snack, but I find when I do include them, they love it. And it gets easier (and less messy!) over time. Hang in there!