Teaching kids to cook gives them a skill they can use for the rest of their lives and instills in them the confidence of knowing that they can take care of themselves.
But, knowing how to follow a recipe isn’t the same as actually knowing how to cook. Kids should also learn about the ingredients they’re working with and how they work together. One way to help reinforce the technical lessons of cooking is to play cooking games with your kids that challenge them to mix and match ingredients and cooking techniques to see what happens.
The Mystery Box Challenge
On the television show Master Chef they had a challenge called he Mystery Box Challenge. Each competing home cook was given a box with a collection of mystery ingredients inside. The challenge was to use the ingredients to make a dish in a certain category in a certain amount of time. The cooks could use other ingredients as well, but they had to use at least some of the ingredients from the box.
This is a great cooking game to play with kids! You don’t have to include fancy ingredients or anything hard to work with. Consider your children’s ages and present cooking ability when choosing the ingredients and goal. It can be something as simple as a jar of peanut butter and a basket of strawberries. When I gave my kids these ingredients one of them rolled prepared strawberries in peanut butter then rolled them again in crushed up chocolate chips. She arranged them on a bed of banana slices that had been treated with a light drizzle of amber agave nectar. It was a simple raw fruit desert that both looked and tasted great! Another kid made strawberry-banana-kabobs with alternating treatments. The strawberries were rolled in a honey wash then confectioners sugar to matte, and the banana chunks were rolled in peanut butter, and then again in crushed mixed nuts. My oldest made a strawberry tart with a peanut butter crust!
Musical Cooking Stations
Large families have a tendency to play this game without even knowing it. When you have a lot of mouths to feed you usually end up having a lot of cooking to do. The kids are put to work, each kid being given a specific station or task to manage, so that everything gets done.
In my family we turned it into a game to get the kids interested in the cooking! The game is a cooking version of musical chairs. We choose a song, our default song being “Working In A Coal Mine,” and we all sing together as we go about our assigned tasks. After the first repetition of the song we do a “Chinese fire drill” and all of us change stations or tasks.
With this game you’ll want to work in teams if there are younger kids involved. Team each small child up with a capable teenager or adult, but encourage the younger kid to be the team leader. you’ll be surprised at how much they pick up from doing this, and how quickly it can dissolve into a giggle-fest.