Easy Kitchen Kids Ideas

Most kids love to help in the kitchen.  They enjoy the mess, the company, the adult-like work, and of course, the end result.  Fostering this love in kids is something many of us actually hope to do (even if just for the hope that they end up cooking for us one day and sooner rather than later).  Continuing the craft ideas from last week, here are a couple crafty things you can do for the kitchen-minded kids in your family.  They are cheap and easy gifts or activities that can come from the heart or that your kids will enjoy taking part in creating too!

The Personal Cookbook

My daughter, like many kids before her, tends to view some of her favourite foods as "hers".  As a child, I remember insisting that my mom make MY chocolate chip bars for all school bake sales, just as my daughter now insists upon HER cookie dough (because she likes that way better than the actual cookies).  The personal cookbook is one gift you can create for your child or with your child to help them keep track of the recipes they hold dear, the ones they can help with themselves, or the ones they want to share with others (like grandparents) when they go for visits.  (Additionally, this can be a great idea for someone who has lots of recipes scattered around and can't keep track.  Kids making this for a parent or grandparent may be a wonderful gift from the heart that kids can do almost entirely themselves, depending on their age.)

What you need: a folder or binder (depending on what you find looks nicest or is easiest to work with) with three prongs to keep sheets in, clear page protectors, paper for the recipes, and stickers or markers or whatever you want to decorate the cookbook.

Depending on what you’re doing – creating the entries or just using printed copies – you’ll either need to be ready to write out your recipes or have them printed and ready.

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Papers go in the protectors, which is perfect for when you’re actually cooking as they are easily cleaned.  Then you get to decorate and how you do it will depend on what you’re doing.  One possibility is to add photos of people enjoying the recipe on the page, or to have kids decorate the pages of their favourite recipes or the actual recipe book.  And unlike most recipe books, you get the added bonus of being able to add in new recipes as soon as you find them.

Total Time: Depends on how you’re doing it, how much you want to decorate, etc.  As little as 30 min though and upward depending on the exact project.

Total Cost at Staples: $5-$17, depending  ($7 for the stickers used to decorate with tons left over and it’s not necessary, $5 for the coloured paper if you’re writing out your own recipes, $0.50 for the cover, $4 for the page protectors; you need the recipes).

The Mini Herb Garden


Having small herbs in the house for cooking is fantastic and even better for small kids who are learning to cook!  Being able to just snip off a leaf here and there is ideal for small kids to cook with.  Added bonus, you get to teach your kids about caring for something living - a plant - and is an easy introduction to growing your own food (and we all know how much kids do enjoy the feeling of using something they themselves have made).  Of course you can go and buy a store bought little garden, but where’s the fun in that?  Here’s a quick way for kids to get in on planting their own herbs and decorating as a gift or just for fun.

What you need: solid pencil holders (as many as herbs you want), clips to hold the holders together, rocks, dirt, herbs, and anything to decorate.

We used three holders for our mini herb garden.  Nice pencil holders will hold everything in for you and can be much cheaper and more compact than buying individual plant pots.  First you need to fill the bottom of the holders with a few small rocks to leave space for water to pool when watering your herbs.  We actually turned the rock collecting into a fun walk outside with my daughter as she found rocks she wanted to add in from around the neighbourhood.  Dirt we got from our front patch.


If you’ve bought a plant (as we did for one of them, just for show), you can just put it in and fill any remaining space with your dirt.  If you’re planting seeds, fill the pots with enough dirt, looking to the seed guide as to how far down they need to be planted.  Put your seeds in, top it up, and water.

Decorating can take place first or after if you have people who won’t make a mess.  But having stickers the kids can add just makes it more fun for them, as it is if they get to pick some of the herbs as well.  I admit wrapping this if it’s a gift may be a bit harder so you may have to give up on that one ;)  But voila, in no time you have a beautiful mini herb garden for your kitchen, small enough for kids to care for but with enough herbs for you to cook with!

Total time: 10 minutes

Total cost: Approximately $16 ($11 for three solid pencil holders, $4 for the clips with many leftover, $1 for seeds or more if you buy the plants already in bloom; we used the same sticker decorations as above - $7 for a large tub but clearly have tons left over even after all of our projects; dirt and rocks collected outside).


By Tracy Cassels

December 09, 2013