Homecooked meals ensure your children eat a well-balanced diet that’s low in sodium and other harmful ingredients. High sodium and unhealthy meals, when eaten in excess, can cause health problems when children are older. When children learn to cook at an early age, they’re able to learn all about nutrition and how to put ingredients together to make a healthy and delicious dish.

Cooking classes help children achieve all of this and practice many important skills, like kitchen safety, creativity, organization, math, chemistry, and more. Here are four cooking classes for your kids or the whole family around the South Barrington area.

Marcel’s Culinary Experience

A young girl mixes a bowl of ingredients at a cooking class in South Barrington, Illinois

mixing” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Tim Pierce

Marcel’s Culinary Experience has been a staple in Glen Ellyn since 2011 and teaches over 200 unique cooking classes for kids and adults every year. Every class is led by an experienced professional chef or cooking instructor, and you get a little extra, one-on-one help from the culinary assistants, too. Plus, the kitchen is stocked with Marcel’s own high-quality cookware, so you and your children get to practice on some of the best tools on the market.

Marcel’s hosts classes for three kids’ age groups: Little Kids (ages 6 to 8), Mid Kids (ages 9 to 11), and Big Kids (ages 12 to 16). In these classes, your children learn how to create fun, kid-friendly recipes that match the class’s theme. Some previous classes include recipes like s’mores popcorn and “bugs” made from fresh fruits and veggies, gourmet burgers, and a menu full of cozy cold-weather favorites like homemade soup, warm caramel apple cider, and fresh biscuits. In all classes, children learn age-appropriate skills and techniques, like knife skills, kitchen safety, sauteing, and baking.

In addition to kids-only classes, Marcel’s offers plenty of adults-only classes. To get in the kitchen with your kiddos, sign up for the family cooking courses. These classes have you working together to prepare and cook ingredients, plate your dishes, and dine together alongside other families. Not only is this a great family bonding experience, it can be a fantastic introduction to the fun of cooking classes for kids who aren’t sure if they want to do classes on their own.

Marcel’s is located at 490 Main St. in nearby Glen Ellyn.

The North American Pizza and Culinary Academy

Pizza is one of the most kid-friendly dishes, and at the North American Pizza and Culinary Academy, kids can learn how to make their own from scratch. And while they might not be ready for professional certification level, your kids get to take classes at one of only 20 total schools in the world that train and certify professional pizza chefs in authentic Italian pizza pie making.

In the kids and teen workshops, your kiddos get hands-on practice with basic cooking skills and techniques, kitchen safety and sanitation, as well as collaboration. They get to make four dishes — not just pizza — in the 2- to 2.5-hour class. You and the kiddos can sign up for different pizza-making workshops, too, like New York-style, deep-dish Chicago-style, and tavern-style pies.

The North American Pizza and Culinary Academy is located at 1970 University Lane in Lisle, Illinois.

Give Me Some Sugar

Do your kids love cookies, cakes, and pies? Then sign them up for baking and decorating classes at Give Me Some Sugar. This local culinary education destination offers classes in practically every baked good, from cakes and cupcakes to macarons, donuts, eclairs, pastries, and breads. They even host decorating classes where you and your kids can learn to pipe flowers, make holiday-themed treats, use sprinkles with care, and wow with fondant and painted icing.

These classes are best for parents and children to take together, and children must be at least 8 years old to participate. Consider starting with the Baking 101 course, where you learn to make four types of cakes: chocolate, vanilla, pound cake, and carrot cake. If you and your kiddos are baking pros but need some help using piping bag tips, then sign up for the Basic Cake Decorating or Fun With Fondant classes. Then, try more advanced baking classes for croissants and pastries and special decorating classes to top cakes with succulents.

Give Me Some Sugar is located in historic Roscoe Village in Chicago, and you can find them at 2205 W. Belmont Ave.

The Wilton School

For even more baking classes and decorating classes, book a workshop at the Wilton School. This place specializes in baking and pastry arts for all ages, and they even offer kids and teens classes for kiddos 10 to 17 years old and family baking classes where the whole family can team up to make a special treat.

Kids and teens can take fun, themed classes that focus on making one or a few related items and developing proper preparation, baking, and decoration techniques. Sign them up for a cake pop class, a cupcake workshop, a holiday treat bake-a-thon, or a trip to France without leaving Illinois during the macaron class. If your children really love these classes, consider signing them up for the baking and decorating camps, which are multiple days of kid-friendly culinary challenges. And when the whole family joins, you get to make homemade pizza, truffles, and more.

If you’d rather do a class from the comfort of your own home kitchen, then consider taking part in a 30-minute online decorating class where you learn to make buttercream roses, unique icing patterns, and professional-quality pastries. What’s more, your younger kids can just watch or join in for a bit and then go back to playing. That makes these classes a good option for kiddos with shorter attention spans who aren’t ready to commit to longer, more intensive in-person classes.

The Wilton School is located at 711 Lemont Road in nearby Darien.So there you have it, four awesome places where your child can gain important life skills in the kitchen. At Crème de la Crème of South Barrington, your kids can also get a taste of cooking in the kitchen with our Chef It Up culinary lessons. Contact us to learn more about how our whole-child curriculum can help your little chef thrive.