Cooking With Kids

Lisa from Belgium is an au pair in New Jersey, USA.
Lisa from Belgium is an au pair in New Jersey, USA.
Photo courtesy of InterExchange

Cooking is a fun activity with lots of learning potential. It is also a great way to share with your host children some of your favorite foods from the U.S. You can also learn new recipes from your host country.  

Helpful Hints

  • You can make meals and snacks fun and more attractive to picky eaters with a little creativity. You can even ask the kids for some great ideas!.
  • Kids are more likely to enjoy and eat meals that they have helped plan and prepare.
  • Theme meals (e.g. all one color, ethnic dishes, or something based on a story you’ve read) are fun to plan and eat.
  • Kids can create a recipe box for their own ideas and to chronicle what they have already made. This is a good way to learn which foods fall into which categories and will help in menu planning).

Safety Rules

  • Always wash your hands first!
  • Only adults may use the stove and oven (until the au pair and parents agree that children are ready to do so, with supervision).
  • Turn pot handles away from the edge of the stove so pets or younger children won’t be able to pull them down.
  • Start with plastic knives to learn how to slice and dice soft fruits. When a child is ready, use real knives with supervision.
  • Don’t use electric appliances near water and always unplug when not in use.
  • Assemble all ingredients and equipment before starting, so children are not left unsupervised.

Blueberry Muffin Recipe

The following recipe is a fun project for beginner chefs. Your local library or children’s activity websites are also good places to look for children’s recipes.

Makes 8 to 10 muffins

  • 2 eggs
  • 60g butter
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 125ml milk
  • 150g blueberries
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Fork or whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Muffin sheet
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 (350F)
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes. Add to large mixing bowl with caster sugar. Use a wooden spoon to cream the two together.
  3. Add eggs to the mixing bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently sift together.
  5. Add small amounts of the dry flour mixture to the original mixture and stir well.
  6. Keep adding flour and milk until the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the blueberries.
  8. Fill each greased or paper-lined cup of a muffin sheet about 2/3 of the way full.
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown.
  10. Serve warm and enjoy!

Next: Books for Reading Aloud »

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation