Cooking with the kids is a great way to combine engagement with education, and you even get to eat the results! But between picky eating habits, tricky recipes, and a general lack of time, it can feel more like a fantasy than an actual option. That’s where DIY meal kits come into play — a great means of culinary inspiration that just about all ages can partake in.
If the best easy meals have taught us anything (and they have), it’s that these kinds of cooking projects need to be pretty straightforward. You get beyond about the 30-minute mark and interest levels can begin to fade fast. Moreover, you’re not looking for a maximalist that’ll have you using every pot and pan in your kitchen. These meal kits are for entertainment and eating value, not to get you a Michelin Star.
That complex ratatouille you’ve always wanted to perfect can wait (although do watch the movie to get the whole fam pumped on making food). When using meal kits for kids, there’s a reward in that meal, but the greater victory is passing on an appreciation of homemade food and maybe even a little sense of self-sufficiency. Who knows, you may be raising the next Julia Child.
Wondering if they’ll bite on the concept? There are a few things you can do to increase your chances. For starters, remind the kid that they get to eat what they make. Try to cater to their food preferences and go with dishes and kits that tend to be a bit more interactive. Lastly, embrace the culture of cooking, from aprons and gadgets to pretending you’re contestants on a Food Network show. It’s supposed to be fun and engaging, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Here are the five best DIY meal kits for cooking with your kiddos.
FarmSteady specializes in kits across the spectrum, from pickling options to making your own soft pretzels. The Ravioli Making Kit is especially great, setting you up to inject a little artistry into the iconic dish. Every step of the process is fun, from building a volcano out of powdered dough and mixing in the eggs to cutting the pasta with the custom knife that’s included in the kit. The cheesy nature of the dish can work to your advantage, too, especially if you’re trying to sneak in some vegetable content for something a bit healthier.
That Solo Stove? The company behind the outdoor fire pits? Indeed, as the brand is moving increasingly into the culinary sector, with kits and add-ons for outdoor cooking. We like the Neapolitan Artisan Pizza Box, which outfits you with the makings of what is arguably any kid’s favorite meal. You can do it indoors or out (a regular oven works just fine, but by all means, fire up the grill if you feel like it). The kiddos will love rolling out the dough and personalizing their pie, and the pizza is pretty delicious. The pies come together quickly and nothing beats watching your tiny humans put their own stamp on their work.
Among the best is the Sushi Maki Rolls Cook-Along Kit, which showcases one of the most fun dishes to prepare. Sushi is an ideal choice, as it’s a healthy and hands-on meal and this kit even comes with some coaching, relieving you of too much pressure in the kitchen. It’s basically an art project that you get to munch on when completed (otherwise known as a win-win). It also deviates nicely from the Americana cuisine that kiddos are so inundated by.
This academy is aptly named, as it teaches and sets them up with the tools they need. Each month, your kids will get a new kitchen gadget to focus on, with meals and learning experiences built around it. The recipes are easy to knock out and come on collectible sheets for safekeeping. It’s great for ages 5 or 6, and there are more advanced recipes for those a bit older and more independent. Kiddos will feel like they’re part of a cool club and can even get fun add-ons, like a safe three-piece knife set.
This informative option is great for sparking not only culinary interest, but also a passion for science as well. You can personalize Yummy Crate to your children’s liking and it comes with activities and even a magazine for further learning. The price is pretty reasonable, especially if you shop smartly for the necessary ingredients, and the age range (6-14) is pretty impressive. Going a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) route, it’s like a class and one they’ll be excited to attend.
Yes, you can cook with kids. The above options are a great way to introduce kiddos to the craft or even create a lasting interest in the chef’s life. Because the recipes are pretty simple and the prep is limited, they’re easy to pull off at home, no matter what state your kitchen (or busy schedule) is like. Just be prepared to make a mess — that’s half of the fun.
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