3 Fun Preschool Cooking Activities to Get Little Ones in the Kitchen
Preschoolers are incredibly curious about the world. When they see adults doing things around the house, it’s natural for them to become intrigued. As your little one watches you preparing meals and snacks, they will eventually want to get in on the action.
If your preschooler is interested in cooking, we have good news: They can help! You’ll be excited to see how much fun kids ages three to five can have in the kitchen when they’re enthusiastic and willing to learn. Give these preschool cooking activities a try to encourage your little chef’s interest in food and help them learn and grow.
Simple Preschool Cooking Activities
When you bring your preschooler into the kitchen, start small. The best cooking activities for toddlers are simple, repetitive, and fun. Let your child assist with the following tasks under close supervision:
- Stirring batter or dry ingredients
- Using cookie cutters
- Rolling dough
- Mashing potatoes or veggies
- Spreading condiments on bread
- Washing fruits and veggies
If you want to take your preschooler’s food activities to the next level, let them explore the ingredients using their senses. Smell the cocoa powder before you add it to a brownie recipe. Let them get hands-on and squish bread dough between their fingers. (Just be sure they wash their hands after!) You can even ask them to describe the sound of a sifter or mixer.
Easy Recipes to Make with Your Preschooler
One of the most enjoyable parts of cooking with your preschooler is deciding what to make. Fortunately, there are many healthy snacks and kid-friendly recipes your family can try to satisfy your child’s desire to learn and play. Here are a few of our favorite recipes for preschoolers from America’s Test Kitchen Kids, our partners on the Kitchen Adventures subscription box.
(Each recipe uses tools and appliances that require adult supervision. You are the best judge of your child’s abilities. Please read through each recipe to determine its suitability for a particular child and assess how much assistance will be needed.)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5⅔ ounces) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ⅓ cup packed (2⅓ ounces) dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup (3 ounces) molasses
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt.
- In large bowl, whisk melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add molasses, egg yolk, and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
- Add flour mixture and use rubber spatula to stir until no dry flour is visible and soft dough forms.
- Place sugar in shallow dish. Use your hands to roll dough into 12 balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon each). Place dough balls in dish and roll to coat with sugar.
- Place sugar-coated dough balls on parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between them. Gently flatten each ball.
- Bake until edges of cookies are just set and centers are still soft and puffy, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes.
- 1½ cups (9 ounces) semisweet or white chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Food coloring (optional)
- Your favorite treats for dipping
- Your favorite toppings
- Place chocolate chips and vegetable oil in 2-cup microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat in microwave at 50 percent power until chocolate chips are almost (but not quite!) melted, about 2 minutes, stirring with spoon every 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until chocolate chips are completely melted and smooth. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Add food coloring if desired.
- Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip your treat in the melted chocolate mixture, shake gently to let the extra chocolate drip off, and then place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle your dipped treat with your favorite toppings.
- Freeze until chocolate is hardened, about 5 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 day.
- Vegetable oil spray
- 1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ½ cup (3½ ounces) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- ¼ cup apple cider or apple juice
- 1 large egg
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin well with vegetable oil spray.
- In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- In medium bowl, whisk applesauce, melted butter, sugar, cider, and egg until well combined.
- Add applesauce mixture to flour mixture and use rubber spatula to gently stir until just combined and no dry flour is visible. Do not overmix.
- Scoop batter into each muffin tin cup with 2 spoons (fill muffin cups to top). Sprinkle top of muffins with a little extra sugar.
- Bake until muffins are deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of 1 muffin comes out clean, 12 to 14 minutes..
- Place muffin tin on cooling rack and let muffins cool for 15 minutes. Gently wiggle muffins to loosen from muffin tin and transfer directly to cooling rack. Let muffins cool for at least 5 minutes.
Cooking Is Fun for All Ages
Kids’ cooking activities are a lot of fun, and little ones love to taste-test their creations afterward. One of the greatest benefits of cooking with your child is how the process expands their palate.
Creating in the kitchen helps kids discover new flavors, ingredients, and textures, broadening their horizons and giving them the courage to try new foods. Once your kitchen helper is comfortable with these recipes, you can move from preschool recipes to delicious treats like churro funnel cakes and friendship bread or international dishes like Suman (a Filipino sticky rice cake). And when they get a little older (or if you know an older child who loves cooking), try out our Kitchen Adventures subscription to take a culinary journey around the world. It’s time to tie on some aprons and get baking!