Cooking with Preschoolers – 5 Cool Things!

cooking-with-preschoolersI love cooking with my kids! My son has been cooking a lot at preschool lately, so we’ve been practicing many of the recipes at home!

I love all the skills that can be practiced while we cook together, including reading, following directions, measuring, strengthening fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and learning early math and science concepts.

There are also so many opportunities to learn new vocabulary words in context while exploring and working together! Turn taking and cooperative skills are also taught.

Today I am excited to share five cools things I like to cook at my house with my preschooler.

These are simple “cooking” activities that preschoolers can really be involved in.

1. Octopus Hot Dogs

I didn’t invent these, but they are a huge hit at our house! Simple stick raw spaghetti noodles through uncooked hot dogs, cook them in a large pot of boiling water, and serve.

The best part is adding all the octopus legs!

This is a great activity to work on hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. Some of the noodles are tricky to stick in the hot dogs!

2. Bagel Pizzas  

My son learned how to make these at preschool and now I have him make them at least once a week for us for dinner.

You just need mini bagels, pizza sauce, and cheese.

  • Cut the bagels in half
  • Spread some pizza sauce (or spaghetti sauce) on the bagel
  • Add cheese
  • Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted

So simple and yummy- especially when you aren’t the one cooking!

3. Yogurt Fruit Pops

This is a summertime favorite at our house.

You just need yogurt (we use go-gurt tubes), some fruit, popsicle sticks, foil, and dixie cups.

  • Squeeze go-gurt into dixie cup
  • Add some fruit and mix it around
  • Cover the top with aluminum foil
  • Poke a popsicle stick through the top
  • Freeze for about 2 hours or until pops are solid.
I also love to do this with baby food for my baby! She loves her baby food pops!

4. Banana Bread Muffins  

There are tons of great banana bread muffin recipes out there! I think we used this one for when we were cooking… though I’d love for you to share your favorite one. I want to try out a few more!

Making any type of muffin will allow you to practice measuring, pouring, and mixing. I love to create simple recipe cards for my son with visuals on them so that he can be pretty independent when we are cooking.

His favorite part of this recipe is adding the chocolate chips and sampling them before he drops them in!

5. Peanut Butter Bopper Birds Nests

This recipe is a favorite from when I was in middle school. All you need is 1 cup Karo syrup, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, and 6 cups of cornflakes.

  • Boil the Karo syrup and sugar and mix till the sugar dissolves.
  • Add peanut butter and mix till combined.
  • Mix in 6 cups of cornflakes
  • Scoop out mixture into muffin tins and let boppers cool before adding any candy eggs.

These are dangerous. I think I can eat an entire pan of these by myself… so we don’t make them that often. My little guy loves mixing in the cornflakes and then helping mold the mixture into nest shapes.

We have several other favorite cooking activities, but these are my top five because they are simple and don’t require that many ingredients.

What are your favorite things to cook with your kids?

Here are fun Quirky Momma ideas for cooking with young children:





  1. Parfaits are a great healthy snack that kids can make – we actually made them just today in my toddler community. I put plain greek yogurt in a ziplock and let the children squeeze it into their cups, then we count out the berries (today it was blueberries) and put them in, then another layer of yogurt and a sprinkling of granola. If plain greek yogurt is unappealing, adding honey (for children over 1) or maple syrup (for any age) makes it sweeter and thinner with less sugar than factory-sweetened yogurts. We did it in child sized wine glasses (about the size of a shot glass) – I’m not sure what they were originally intended for but the kids love to have fancy things!
    Smoothies are great, too! At school we have to work the blender but the kids can add ingredients before it’s plugged in. At home kids could push the blender buttons themselves, with supervision. I use 1 banana, 1 cup of milk or other liquid, and 1 cup of ice as our base, and add other fruits or veggies from there.
    We’ve also done baked quesadillas, tofu bites (marinated with soy sauce and then breaded), strawberry-chocolate mousse (made with ricotta cheese and extra strawberries), and bell pepper-cream cheese spread.
    Thanks for some more ideas!

  2. Great ideas. I am most impressed with those octopus sausages and think we shall be trying to make our own.

  3. I can not WAIT to try the hot dog octopus!!! So fun!!

  4. Cooking in the kitchen with your kids provide so many great learning experiences. Thanks for sharing these easy recipes!

  5. Oh yes! What a great round up of fun “kids foods”… my kids adore making these too – though we are yet to try peanut butter nests (we have only made the chocolate version).

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy & Alissa

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