12 Fun Things to Cook with Your Kids

August 17, 2011

The kids are home from summer camp -- now how to entertain them till school swoops them up again?  Try some quality time in the kitchen.

Here are twelve recipes that will keep you and your eager assistants busy and happy all summer long.

Grandma DiLaura's Italian Ricotta Gnocchi by cdilaura

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Grandma DiLaura's Italian Ricotta Gnocchi

Pull your kids away from the play-dough and enlist their help with the real-dough -- they’ll love kneading, rolling, and eating their little masterpieces.


One-Eyed Sandwiches by merrill

One-Eyed Sandwiches

This may be the Cyclops of sandwiches, but no worries -- it's much friendlier. Have your kids crack the egg in the hole, and watch them devour their creation.


Late Summer Plum Cake by JSCooks

Late Summer Plum Cake

What’s more fun than nestling plums in sweet, lemony cake batter? Give your kids the pleasure -- this cake will look pretty no matter what. They’ll be grinning for days.


My Best Tomato Sandwich by merrill

My Best Tomato Sandwich

Have your kids smear the bread with mayo (and thank them later for their generosity). Then, they can stack their sliced tomatoes as high as the sandwich will allow. Take a bite: whoa, that’s good.


Bell-less, Whistle-less, Damn Good French Toast by KayB

Bell-less, Whiste-less, Damn Good French Toast

It’s about time your kids learn the magic of these 4 ingredients: bread, butter, eggs, and cream. Have them soak the bread and place it in the pan; they won’t believe what emerges mere minutes later.


Salad Dressing by Leslie_

Salad Dressing

Put on some music and SHAKE! And teach them the science of emulsion while they’re boogying down.


Una Pizza Rustica e Autentica For Sophia Loren by pierino

Una Pizza Rustica

Your kids love pizza? Great! Now teach them how to make it the real way. They can help knead the dough, and then spread it with their favorite toppings. There you go: an in-house pizzeria.


Bruschetta With Ricotta, Honey and Lemon Zest by merrill

Bruschetta with Ricotta, Honey, and Lemon Zest

After you char the bread, have your kids do the smearing: the garlic, the ricotta, the olive oil, and the honey. Follow them with a sprinkle of lemon-zest dust, and you’ve got yourself a killer appetizer.


Cinnamon Swirl Bread by amanda

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

How do you get the swirl IN there? Teach the kids how it's done, after kneading the soft, buttery dough together. When they cut into the loaf, they won’t believe what they were able to do.


Banana Pudding by merrill

Banana Pudding

Layering Nilla wafers, fresh bananas, pudding, and whipped cream may be one of the greater joys in life. Have your kids crush the wafers (and nibble, too), stir the pudding, and layer away.


Milk Peas by amanda

Milk Peas

Teach your children the simple pleasure of a pat of butter (and peas, and milk). Vegetables just became a treat.


My Girls' Best Test Kitchen Sugar Cookies by thirschfeld

My Girls' Best Test Kitchen Sugar Cookies

This list wouldn’t be complete without that childhood favorite: chewy sugar cookies. And this recipe takes the fun even further: when the batter is finished, your kids can roll the balls of dough in sugar before sending them into the oven. Now, get the milk ready.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • galleyslave
  • Becky4T
  • Edamamemonster
  • Fairmount_market
  • amysarah
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


galleyslave August 22, 2011
I LOVE all these ideas. I've always cooked with my children -- I have a picture of my son at age 2, dusted with flour, rolling out cookies with great concentration. The pair of them grew up cooking with me and with their dad (his specialty, aside from barbeque, was chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips). For years, we spitted a whole lamb in the back yard for Thanksgvings we did with friends. Now grown and on their own, they are both both really good cooks, and also know what healthy, delicious food tastes like.
Becky4T August 21, 2011
Julia Child recommended cooking with children. Best bonding ever, especially with back to school jitters. Next month our local farm tour will be having lunch at our community center. The menu is locally grown beef,(roast beef sandwiches) chicken, (chicken salad on greens) and grilled cheese for the children . One parent asked for potato chips (of coarse) sooooo... we are slicing real potatoes (on a box grater) and each child will arrange paper thin slices onto a paper plate, sprayed with olive oil and baked in microwave oven for 4 min (depending on wattage of oven). They brown before your very eyes and sprinkled with seasalt they are truly the best potato chip I've ever had.
Edamamemonster August 21, 2011
Sushi rolls are a lot of fun to make with kids. You just make the sushi rice; then, let them pick the fillings they want and then they can roll them using a sushi mat.
Fairmount_market August 17, 2011
Making home made pasta with a hand rolling machine is a whole lot of fun to make with kids. They think it's a treat rather than a chore to do all that cranking, and then turning that dough into actual delicious noodles, almost instantaneously, is so rewarding.
amysarah August 17, 2011
My daughter and I made countless batches of ricotta gnocchi. She's an artist and has always been great with her hands - her gnocchi were always far prettier than mine.

She was also way more patient with laying fruit slices in tarts in even concentric circles and icing black/white cookies (her favorites) without a marble-y area down the middle. I lied when I said I did it that way on purpose.

Another thing we made together from a young age was pot stickers - I'd make the filling, and she'd fill, fold, wet the edges and crimp them into crescents.

Wonderful memories.
sarabclever August 17, 2011
Forget my kids: my husband is still crazy for cinnamon swirl bread!