Does your child show an interest in cooking? Maybe you’ve considered enrolling them in a culinary class. It’s a terrific way to indulge their creativity and create an awesome bonding opportunity for parents and kids to learn together. Cooking is more than just mixing up ingredients, of course. It teaches children math, planning, and problem-solving skills, and so much more. Try out these cooking classes for kids and parents near Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Why Kids Should Learn to Cook

A small child playing with a plastic kitchen play set.

Image via Flickr by shixart1985

Children can pick up so much more from a cooking class than simply how to prepare Monday night’s dinner. Learning their way around the kitchen helps kids discover what healthy eating really means, and they will benefit in a variety of ways, including:

  • Self-esteem: Kids get a big boost of confidence and a sense of accomplishment by contributing to the family.
  • Unexpected skills: Learning about meal planning, shopping, and making thrifty choices are an often surprising side effect of learning to cook.
  • Lifelong benefits: Cooking is a talent they’ll use throughout their lifetime and even pass down to their own children someday.
  • Better grades: Developing their understanding of math, including weight and volume measurements, fractions, and conversions, will improve their grades in more than just math class.
  • Creativity: By exploring their creative side, kids may conjure up new, unique, and delicious recipes, and this innovation may spill over in over areas, too.

Where to Find a Local Cooking Class

A kitchen cutting board with parsley, shaved corn cobs, and diced tomatoes.

Image via Flickr by USDAgov

We’ve done the hard work for you and found these five exciting culinary educational opportunities for your child — and you, if you like. Let’s check them out:

Classic Thyme Cooking School

Located at South Avenue West, Classic Thyme offers afterschool programs starting most Mondays at 4 p.m. Miss Sue teaches basic techniques to children ages 4 to 9, including precise measuring, knife skills, using utensils and small appliances, and the food groups, as well as safety, patience, and humility in the kitchen. Once your kiddos graduate, they’ll master the art of preparing strawberry scones, zucchini carrot cupcakes, and more. Tuition is $199 for this four-part, drop-off only series.

Young Chefs Academy

The engaging program at Young Chefs Academy on Ginesi Drive in Marlboro offers weekly classes, culinary camps, field trips, special events, and a master chef program. Kids come away with food preparation skills, a dash of etiquette, a pinch of table setting, and heaps of kitchen safety in this fun-filled environment.

Kinder Cooks ages 4 to 6 attend with a parent, while Junior Chefs ages 7 to 12 and Senior Chefs 13 and up work independently. Each class is $45, or get discounted fees with membership.

The Farm Cooking School

The main ingredient at The Farm Cooking School is wholesome nutrition. Now is the ideal time to take advantage of their live-streaming classes. The kids will learn from the comfort of your home. It’s one of the easiest and most convenient ways to incorporate new recipes and techniques into your child’s busy schedule. You’ll receive emailed instructions, Zoom links, and the recipes before the class begins. You can also save a little green. Live-streaming classes are just $60, while regular in-house programs start at $105.

Passion For Spices

Passion for Spices is another terrific local cooking school located in the Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit. They offer both in-house and online programs for kids and teens that showcase sustainable cooking practices. Foster a love for the kitchen with instruction on various dishes from around the world, like homemade pasta and fresh tamales. Each class runs for two hours, and kids get to sample everything they make. Sign up for the five-day series for $275.

King’s Food Market

This casual, hands-on program is tucked away in the back of King’s Food Market in Short Hills. Choose from a full calendar of sessions from gluten-free baking and international dishes to scrumptious holiday creations, like a Hanukkah family dinner starring silver dollar latkes and homemade gelt. Novice bakers ages 8 to 12 will whip up chocolate sprinkle donuts and Nutella brownies. Parents can even purchase Cooking Studio gift certificates for the kids as a birthday gift or other celebration.

At-Home Tips for Success

A small child's hand reaching for several vegetables laying on a table.

Image via Flickr by shixart1985

Once your kids have mastered the basics in class, continue their education at home and allow them to explore and expand their skills. Practicing the following tips will set them up for success:

  • Safety: How much supervision do your kids need in the kitchen when cutting and with cooktop and oven tasks? This depends on their age and maturity. Kindergartners need more direction, while teens may not require your assistance at all.
  • Planning: Help your child make a list of your family’s favorite foods, then choose a recipe that incorporates these ingredients. Put together a shopping list, and encourage them to read the nutrition facts labels and serving sizes. This way their meals are healthy and there’s enough to go around.
  • Setup: Make sure the kitchen area works for your little ones. Do they need a step stool or a low table to work comfortably and access the cabinets, counters, and cook surfaces?
  • Cleanliness: Reinforce your child’s instruction and practice food safety at home. Teach them to wash their hands frequently during food prep and to keep their work surfaces clean. Enlist the help of family members to pick up the kitchen after the feast.
  • Enjoy the meal: Take time to gather everyone around the table and enjoy the fruits of your child’s labor together. Showing them that you enjoy eating the foods they prepare will boost their self-esteem. This special time bonding over a healthy meal is rewarding for everyone in the family.

There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Bridgewater, New Jersey, brought you this helpful guide to local cooking classes for kids. What style of learning is best for your child? Will you try a school or an online course from home? Let us know your thoughts. If you know of another great cooking program in the neighborhood, tell us, so we can add it to our list.