How to Teach a Proper Baking and Cooking Class to Kids

Cooking Tools, Baking Tips, and Safety and Sanitation for the kids in the kitchen.

easy cookie recipes, desserts, and baking fun things

Joanne Adirim

Founder & Executive Pastry Chef

FEB 20, 2022

For 25 years, Joanne has served as the Founder and Executive Pastry Chef at Hannahmax Baking. Known for her best in class reputation, Joanne and her baking company have crafted gourmet desserts for fine dining establishments, coffee cafes, hotels, & grocery companies across North America. In 2022, she launched the Cookie Chips® Baking Mix, a cookie mix that's shaking up home baking with its bakery quality results. In From The Pastry Kitchen, she shares her industry earned expertise with the home baking community.

Let's understand how can learning to cook and bake actually benefit kids.

Learning to cook and bake are amazing life skills. That's why cooking with kids is especially important. For kids to grow up and know their way around any kitchen is a lifelong path for healthy nourishment. Teaching cooking skills is one half of the equation. It's important that you teach them healthy recipes that are fun and easy to make. There are all kinds of recipes for kids that will inspire a love of cooking and baking. 

baking cookies with kids

"There are endless things to bake with kids. My 9 year old loves to get into the kitchen and create his own baking recipes."

Let's look at baking with kids. Baking skills reinforce math skills. Baking teaches you how to make precise measurements, use a scale, and practice addition and multiplication. There is also a chemistry element to baking depending on how far you go with the teaching. There are tons of fun things to bake. Ideas to help you apply baking as a science with your kids can be found all over in articles like How to Teach Science to Kids With Baking, Ted Talks like The Chemistry of Cookies, and baking blogs like The Science of Baking For Smart Kids.

There are endless things to bake with kids. My 9 year old loves to get into the kitchen and create his own baking recipes. He has learned over the past year that he can’t just add anything he wants to make a cake and expect it to turn out as a cake. As a mom and chef, I let him experiment with key missing ingredients and inaccurate proportions.

In the end, there is more mess than cake, but he has so much fun and it’s a great learning experience. He now works with me by using real recipes and by learning how to follow the directions precisely. Eventually, we will get into more of the science behind baking.

What's a good age to starting baking with kids in the kitchen? How about learning to cook?

Learning to cook and bake, and understanding the benefits of cooking and baking should be learned from a young age. There is research that supports the importance of cooking for toddlers. From my experience, I say 5 and older is the best. They are just a year before going into 1st grade. At this age, kids that are cooking are excited to make just about anything. Often, they have already done this in school with simple baking or cooking projects. My kids would get bread dough in school to make challah on Fridays and in summer camp they would often do some sort of baking project. Once you've established the benefits and importance of cooking with kids, we should cover cooking safety and sanitation.

What are some kitchen safety rules and tips parents need to know when teaching their kids to cook and bake?

Safety is twofold. It’s physical safety and food sanitation safety practices. You need both. Teaching cooking skills and safety is a hands on activity. The first thing you can do is give a kid oriented tour of the kitchen. Show them the equipment and what it all does. Show them the oven and the cooktop. Teach them how to keep their little fingers out of moving equipment as well as hot ovens and stoves. Explain the consequences of these actions.

For food safety and sanitation practices, you want to give age appropriate information. The older they are the more information you can share. Basic food safety starts with handwashing and understanding that key ingredients like eggs and flour are raw and can give them a tummy ache. So you don’t want to encourage eating raw cookie dough or brownie batter.

how to cooking with kids

"Basic food safety starts with handwashing and understanding that key ingredients like eggs and flour are raw and can give them a tummy ache."

With regard to handwashing, they should already know the importance of this after going to the bathroom. This should be further incorporated into food safety and sanitation practices in the kitchen.

If you are cooking with fresh ingredients like vegetables, it's important to always use a veggie wash and wash these items well. Letting your kids do this and explaining to them that this step is also very important in not getting a tummy ache. You can teach older kids about salmonella and listeria.

Another real biggie is teaching kids about the food safety and sanitation practices that come with handling raw meat in the kitchen. Personally, I’m really careful about how I handle raw meat in my own kitchen. I always wear nitrile gloves and clean all my surfaces after I’m done. Teaching this and showing the kids how to do this is of the utmost importance. You can also purchase kids size nitrile gloves. Lastly, teaching them about cooking temperatures. This can be fun for little kids. Showing them cooking and baking thermometers and letting them help make sure you reach a safe temperature on whatever you are cooking.

When looking for tools for kids learning to cook, what should parents keep in mind? Should they buy cooking gear aimed at kids? Knives with certain safety features? What would you recommend they keep in mind?

kids cooking tools for baking

"The younger the child, the simpler the project. The older they get the more complicated you can make it."

The only thing I ever bought my kids is their own apron or chef's jacket. I always taught my kids using the same tools I use, but under close and constant supervision and on an age appropriate basis. The first place you should look is our curated list of my favorite baking tools and essentials. Most of what you see there is perfect for kids just learning their way around a kitchen. If you're looking for more kid-specific tools, there are kid safe knives, small cutting boards, and other tools you can purchase for little hands that would definitely be helpful. And, the kids may actually enjoy using these items.

How should parents keep cooking lessons age-appropriate?

The younger the child, the simpler the project. The older they get the more complicated you can make it. Little kids only need verbal instructions. Older kids, you can give them a recipe to follow and learn from.

Are there any other safety precautions you think parents should keep in mind?

Safe cooking and baking should be kid specific. Understanding your child or the children you are teaching is critical in helping to design a learning format. The factors to take into consideration are age, abilities, social or learning issues, and cooking or baking skills previously learned.

Crispy crunchy cookies in 15 minutes.

Make bakery quality, thin & crispy cookies in 15 minutes. These pastry chef crafted, easy bake Cookie Chips® are so delicious.

Like everything that I bake, this mix uses artisan, non GMO, simple ingredients, and no artificial junk.

Let's get baking!

fun things to bake with easy dessert recipes

Joanne Adirim, Founder & Executive Pastry Chef

Bake crispy cookies with the kids! ↓

Crunchy Cookie Mix