An invitation for kids to cook independently

an invitation to create in the kitchen_cooking independently for kids


Cam loves to create, which is why I think she loves instructional texts- Cookbooks being a particular favourite.  I often find her poring over the recipes and photographs in our children’s cookbooks.   She  really enjoys spending time with me in the kitchen, helping me prepare our family meals and snacks,  measuring and mixing ingredients and licking the spoon.

An invitation:

Given her love for baking, I wanted to provide her with an invitation that was related to real food.  I was selective about which ingredients to offer her. I decided to offer fruits that she liked and that were easy for her to cut with her kiddikutter knife. I also felt that the ingredients I offered would result in edible products no matter how she chose to use them.

an invitation to create in the kitchen_cooking independently for kids

I was hoping the invitation would:

  • consolidate her knowledge and understanding of recipes as an instructional text
  • make use of and experiment with the various techniques she has learnt through baking with me
  • give her the freedom to explore ingredients in her own way and in her own time
  • give her the opportunity to create and to cook independently

Cam did start with more traditional approaches: making neat tarts, using cookie cutters etc.

Playing with real ingredients

…………..and then she began to experiment a little more,  creating free-form pastries by rolling,  scrunching and twisting,.

We put her creations in the oven, and she ended up with some edible treats for morning tea.

This was simply an invitation, but in the future I’d like to help her create recipes of her own by recording her processes.

Related Book Lists:

cookbooks for kids compiled by My Little Bookcase

An invitation for kids to cook independently


  1. What a fabulous experience for Cam! I love this Jackie and will definitely give something similar a try with Miss Daisy. I love that you left her with ingredients where she couldn’t go wrong and it would be edible in the end! Fabulous! :) :)

    • jackie said: On July 8, 2013

      I’ll be surprised if Cam doesn’t end up working with food later in life. I’ve never seen her so engaged. Edible products- definitely a bonus. Let me know how Miss Daisy goes?

  2. Wow what gorgeous photographs and now I am very hungry!! :-) Lovely post, thanks for sharing! I’m definitely inspired to do some baking tomorrow…

  3. oh we love playing with puff pastry… so simple to set up and almost always ends up with something half edible!

    She looks so grown up cooking her own goodies!

    • jackie said: On July 8, 2013

      Half-edible is most certainly a good thing. Puff pastry has become a staple on our weekly shopping list since setting this activity up.

      Cammy turned 4 last week, and I swear she grew up over night.

  4. Hannah said: On July 8, 2013

    I love this idea so so much and it looks like cam enjoyed herself. I might keep this up my sleeve for a rainy day!

  5. My son loves helping out in the kitchen, this would be a hit in our house. He’d enjoy the freedom to do his own thing & I think giving them that trust is a big step

  6. That is such a great idea! i am going to try it next week when my boys are done with camp!

  7. Jode said: On July 9, 2013

    She looks like such a big girl cooking in her kitchen! I love this activity Jackie…so many rewarding outcomes for Cam ans it is obvious she has been watching Mummy….she’ll be cooking dinner for you soon! Thanks for the book ideas too…very helpful!

    • Cooking dinner for us- won’t that be wonderful.
      I imagine your girls will be the same because you involve them so much in cooking too.

  8. Love this idea! My little baker would love to try this. Thanks for sharing

  9. Jack and Sarah love being in the kitchen too :) We bake a lot, mostly cakes, slices and biscuits. They haven’t tried pastry though so we might give that a try next :)

  10. What a great post! Thanks Jackie. I’m very excited for the day when my little girl is ready to start cooking. She is already showing signs! I think many parents can be a bit scared of the idea, I guess when knives are involved, but it’s important to teach our children and trust them.

    • Oh, Kate you have to get your family a kiddikutter knife. They are so wonderful. I have no issues or worries letting Cam use one of these knives independently. It doesn’t have a sharp edge. Instead kids use a sawing action to cut through food- it’s almost impossible for them to cut themselves.

  11. Love how you opened opportunities for her to choose so much!

  12. What a sweet idea – we have puff pastry that we use in our pie maker on occasions. Miss K loves to press out the pie shapes and take all the leftover pastry to play with, but she is a natural in the kitchen and I’m sure would adore an activity like this! We will have to try …

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An invitation for kids to cook independently

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