Stay at Home Tips: Cooking with Kids

See more Extension Stay at Home Tips from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension

 For reliable information you can trust about COVID-19 go to


Cooking with Kids

These can be challenging times for families that are home with their children all day. Mealtimes are an opportunity to provide active learning and conversation for you and your family. A wonderful way to get kids excited about both learning and nutrition is getting them involved in the meal-making process.

 Start with basic food safety: 

  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after touching food (and before you eat) and wash food prep surfaces. Have young children count to 20 while washing to practice with numbers.
  • Keep long hair pulled back and sleeves rolled up.
  • Don’t let children lick their fingers or put their hands in their mouths, or lick utensils and put them back into the food you are cooking.

Get your kids excited about cooking: 

  • Show your kids your grocery store’s website and have them help pick out ingredients – maybe something they haven’t tried before like a new fruit or vegetable. If they can, have them write out the shopping list.
  • Help them choose a recipe from your cookbooks or search online, using ingredients you have or know you can purchase.
  • While you can focus on healthy meals, let them also select a fun snack to make like popcorn balls or cookies you can bake together.

Assign tasks based on children’s age:

  • See this article for age-appropriate kitchen tasks for kids. For younger kids, some of these tasks can double as learning for school, if age appropriate.
  • Math: If you halve or double a recipe, have your child calculate the changes to the amounts. Talk about fractions using recipe cups and have them count ingredients like eggs.
  • Science: Use the internet to look up how baking powder and baking soda work, or what’s happening when marshmallows turn golden-brown in the oven.
  • Literacy: Have your child read the recipe and instructions aloud and follow each step to the final food. This helps improve reading comprehension and expand vocabulary.

Enjoy family meals: 

Plan to eat your meals as a family, whether that is breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  • Teach your child how to set the table.
  • Have your child help you put food into serving dishes.
  • Turn off the TV, put away devices, and sit together for a meal.
  • Make it fun! Let the kids choose a theme for dinner or set up a picnic in the family room.
  • Use the meal time to talk about the day, remember fun family times and plan for new activities you’d like to do in the future. Enjoy each other!

For more activities:   America’s Test Kitchen Kids 


Know the basics about COVID-19

FOR RELIABLE INFORMATION YOU CAN TRUST, about staying safe and what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms, go to

What are the symptoms? Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms. For many, symptoms are mild, with no fever. It is important to know that you can still spread (transmit) the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms. Two to 14 days after exposure, people may experience:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What should I do if I develop symptoms?

If you become ill, stay home and call your doctor if you feel you need medical care or advice. If you are having an emergency, call 911.

  • Each day, write down your symptoms so you can share accurate information with your doctor.
  • Make sure a family member or friend knows that you are unwell and ask them to check on you by phone or video chat every day. Even mild illnesses can quickly take a turn for the worse.
  • Practice good self-care. Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.

How can I lower my risk of getting COVID-19?

  • Stay home as much as possible to protect yourself and others.
  • When possible, shop for two weeks of groceries at a time to expose yourself less often.
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after touching door handles, keypads, pens, and other frequently used surfaces.


  • Call the National Disaster Distress Helpline to speak to a trained crisis counselor
    • 800-985-5990
    • 800-846-8517 (TTY)
    • Or text:  TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Access information and resources to help you meet your immediate needs
    • Call 2-1-1
    • Contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center

See more UW-Madison Division of Extension Safer at Home Tips 


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