Here are a few of my go-to recipes for kids to cook (with a little help!) when you’re in need of fun toddler activities to increase their exposure to healthy foods, keep them busy, AND make foods to share at the next meal or snack.
Recipes for Kids to Cook
I love to take advantage of the energy that little kids have to do things themselves and model what they see us doing. Which is why it can be really fun to get the kids in the kitchen cooking. With little kids, of course, “cooking” will look a lot different than it does for older kids, but there are plenty of activities and recipe steps that they can master even as toddlers.
TIP: All of these ideas are meant to be done with an adult since little kids need help reading recipes and getting ready to make the food.
Tips for Cooking with Toddlers
I put together some of my best tips for cooking with toddlers—and perfect kitchen activities to start out with—which you can find here. My best tips are to keep things simple to start in terms of the recipes you choose, isolate just one or two steps until you get the hang of having a little sidekick, and let them do as much of the job themselves so they can really get into it and have fun.
Oh and also: Try your best not to stress too much about the mess…or at least know that it’s a normal part of the process.
Cooking with Kids: Recipes to Try!
These recipes are some of the ones I turn to regularly to make with my kids. They can’t always make the entire recipe on their own, but that’s why I’m right there with them to help, explain, and assist as needed.
My kids love using a potato masher for everything they can, and we love it to mash up chickpeas for hummus. (Just warm them first to make it a little easier.)
The kids can help grate the apple and carrots in this recipe, then stir the batter, and roll out the cookies. There’s no raw egg, so it’s a safer batter to work with.
Rolling and stamping out dough is a classic way to cook with kids and this recipe is egg-free (so no worries there!) and easy to work with. If you prefer, you can also make the cookies yourself and just let the kids decorate them.
Work together to wash and cut fruit, then push onto paper lollipop sticks to turn them into fruit wands for snack time.
Let each kiddo spread hummus on a pita, then top with their desired toppings.
This dough mixes up in the food processor, so the kids can push the button, and is really easy to roll out. It’s a fun activity to do if you want to share the crackers at snack time!
Technically, this isn’t cooking, but letting the kids assemble their own snack mix is a fun activity to do together.
No-bake cookies are fun to roll into balls. And the little hands will get messy, but that’s just part of the fun!
With an easy batter that’s also free from eggs, these healthy cookies are fun to make together as a make-ahead breakfast cookie or a healthy cookie for snack time.
With just a few simple ingredients and a crazy easy method, this Animal Crackers recipe is a favorite kids snack to make and share. You can make them big or mini in whichever shapes you prefer!
Let the kids practice chopping veggies (find my best kids cooking tools here) to assemble their own snack plate dinner.
We love playing with this dough—rolling it out, making fun shapes—and then sharing some with milk for snack.
Let your little helper dump the ingredients (after you measure them) into a bowl, then stir everything together. Use a larger bowl than you’d usually use to help the ingredients stay put.
A fun way to encourage kids to like smoothies and to know what goes in them is to get them involved in making them. Have the kids choose which color smoothie they want to make, then work together to add the ingredients and watch them disappear into the smoothie!
Give the kids some options for stir-ins and toppings so they can make their own parfaits for breakfast or snack.
Get your little helper involved in mashing the banana with a potato masher or fork, then to help you stir the rest of the batter together.