Mama OWL Blog: Cooking with kids

Cooking with kids

Friday, 29 March 2013

I firmly believe that children should be taught to cook, and encouraged to help with meal preparation from a young age. All of mine love getting stuck in with cooking and baking, at Christmas we bake our own mince pies and gingerbread houses, at Easter we create our own Easter cake (carrot last year, chocolate this year) and make biscuits for decorating, and throughout the year we spend many happy hours and quality time just whipping up whatever we fancy - meringues, pies, crumbles, muffins, cakes, brownies... You name it, we've tried it.

Has it always been successful? Of course not! But half the fun in cooking with kids is trying new things and seeing what you end up with.

It's all not all cakes and biscuits and pies, the children take an active role in our dinner preparation and meal planning too. Our Friday night Mexican meals are a real family affair with the Mister helping the kids to chop up the peppers & onions while I fry off the chicken. Or - one of our favourites - oven baked potatoes, when they can join in with washing the potatoes & giving them a stab before putting them in the oven to bake to a perfect crisp and helping prepare the salad to go with them.

J (12) really enjoys helping out, and I'm sure will make a wonderful husband some day (we're still working on learning to pick up pants & socks!). Particularly as my children are getting older now, I want to send my kids out in to the world being able to fend for themselves, which means being able to cook. We're starting off with the basics, which is just as (if not more) important than the fun bits that come later, like cakes! One day we might even get them to cook us our roast dinner on a Sunday (not holding my breath though!).

Oven baked potatoes with your choice of toppings makes for a quick, cheap and healthy family meal and are ideal to enjoy on a warm Summer evening (if it ever arrives...).

All you need is one or two medium/large baking potatoes per person (or three or four if you're the Mister), and your own choice of toppings.

Wash & prick the potatoes all over (an easy job for the kids to do), before giving them a quick 5 minute blast in the microwave and then place them in the middle of a preheated oven on 220 (fan oven) for 30-40 minutes or until the skin has started to brown and feels 'crispy' to the touch (they should be lovely and fluffy inside too!).
While your potatoes are baking, prepare your salad and toppings. Our favourites include cheese & baked beans and coronation chicken with a mixed salad of cucumber, lettuce, tomato & onions.

Then just dish out your potatoes, slice them open and add a dollop of real butter, add your garnish of choice and then enjoy. Simple, yet tasty.

My kids have a real sense of pride when they have helped with dinner, and it also gives fussy eaters a chance to have a hand in what they eat, they are more likely to eat it if they have helped make it in my experience.

As a family we cook together and eat together, which to us is some of the most important quality time you can share.

This is our entry to win a fantastic Select 90df Range Cooker from in their #cookingwithkids competition. Competition ends Wednesday April 3rd 2013.


  1. Great post and pics!

    Our little lad loves 'playing chef' - thankfully! I don't know how else I'd get the dinner made for one thing, and I'm determined that he'll be able to rustle up a square meal for himself when he's older.

    I agree that it doesn't always work out, but it's always worth the fun in trying!

  2. I think every child should be taught to make the basics like this. Especially if mums don't want to be packing food for their children everytime they come home to visit from uni or wherever!! :)

  3. Love the back to basics ccoking,
    Thanks for entering the range competition Becky and Cass


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