Children can learn so much from cooking. From basic math to enhanced reading, to fine motor development and following directions, cooking teaches children important life skills and readies them for school and beyond.
Plus, cooking is a ton of fun. Aside from whipping up some delicious food, it’s a great bonding activity for parents and children. And who knows? You just may have a budding Rachel Ray or Gordon Ramsey in the family. Encourage your child to don their mini chef hats. It’s never too early to get started in the kitchen.
Children of all ages love the Froggy books, but “Froggy Bakes a Cake” is, perhaps, the most loved of all. This is not a cookbook, but rather a culinary journey that finds Froggy wanting to bake her own birthday cake, but making a huge mess instead. Purchase the book and a basket of baking goods to create an interactive cooking-reading experience.
Join Barton Seaver, master chef and National Geographic Explorer, for a culinary adventure. “National Geographic Kids Cookbook: A Year-Round Fun Food Adventure” combines recipes tailored to specific months and holidays with crafts and other fun activities that provide hours of entertainment in the kitchen. Includes informative sidebars, fun facts, and profiles on notable people.
What do you do with a kid who is serious about cooking but unsure of how to properly use the kitchen? You hand them a copy of Melina Hammer’s bestselling book “Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook” and help guide them on their way. They’ll learn the basics, as well as more advanced cooking skills like how to sharpen a knife (please supervise!) and prep ingredients.
This is another non-cookbook on our list, but well worth a read for kids interested in cooking. What happens when the market is closed and you want to bake an apple pie? You get creative and end up in Vermont! A simple recipe for apple pie is included.
To get into the more intricate aspects of cooking, your child must first master the basics. “Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!)” helps teach kids the fundamentals with easy-to-read instructions and pictures detailing the how-to’s and whys. Includes classic recipes like applesauce, French toast, popcorn chicken, pizza, and more, as well as more creative, unique dishes such as egg mice, fruit flowers, and mashed potato clouds. Hours of fun!
Revised and updated to include hours of innovative, educational experiments, “Science Experiments You Can Eat” turns a kitchen into a learning lab. The cookbook demonstrates the scientific principles behind the chemical reactions we witness every day… just by cooking. While these fun food experiments are about learning science, they’re still big on taste.
“Dragons Love Tacos,’ and so do kids! Another non-cookbook, find out what happens when a dragon accidentally eats a taco… with salsa. His fiery breath may be more than just flame. Kids will learn all about this quintessential snack as they make new literary friends.
If your kiddo is a little Hogwart, obsessed with all things Harry Potter, they’ll love the magic and wizardry in “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.” Pulled straight from the pages of J.K. Rowling’s bestsellers, inside are crafty recipes for Treacle Tarts, Cauldron Cakes, Pumpkin Juice, and more. Over 150 spellbindingly delicious dishes mean hours of conjuring up the most wondrous treats, meals, and drinks.
Within minutes of opening “Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook,” your child is destined to become a cooking Jedi. This intergalactic “Star Wars” cookbook features a variety of easy-to-make snacks, baked goods, and main dishes including C-3PO Pancakes and Han-Burgers. Even little Rebels will devour every tasty creation.
Williams-Sonoma and American Girl have partnered to bring you “American Girl Baking: Recipes for Cookies, Cupcakes & More.” Your child will discover the joys of baking accompanied by gorgeous photos. Perfect for the older little baker in your family.
If your child dreams about being the next Top Chef, The Culinary Institute of America has published the perfect book to accompany their ambitions. With “The Young Chef: Recipes and Techniques for Kids Who Love to Cook” your child can springboard from wanting to cook to becoming a young chef in no time at all. The book teaches cooking basics in an entertaining yet informative way that appeals to both boys and girls.
No joys of cooking list would be complete without a mention of "Better Homes and Gardens." Their “New Junior Cook Book,” revised in 2012, is perfect for kids ages 5 to 12. Inside are 65 brand-new recipes with illustrations and stories that tell all about the dishes. Kids love the colorful characters! Beloved for years, "Better Homes and Gardens" puts the family and fun in cooking.
What book do you recommend for teaching kids the joys of cooking? Post in the comments!