Recipe Cards for Kids

by Kathy Gleason, Demand Media
    Cooking with your tot can be a great bonding experience.

    Cooking with your tot can be a great bonding experience.

    You may have dreamed of cooking up a feast with your little angel ever since that second line showed up on the pregnancy test. Or, if cooking isn't your strength at all, you may be hoping for a culinary wiz kid to take up the dinnertime slack in a few years. Either way, recipe cards for kids can be a great way to introduce simple cooking skills to preschoolers and older toddlers.

    Buying Recipe Cards

    If you don't have any favorite recipes or you're not sure where to start, there are recipe cards for kids available for sale. Check the cookbook section of your local bookstore, or online. When buying sets of recipe cards for your child, make sure to check the ages the cards are meant for. Buying cards that are geared to older kids may lead to frustration. Look for cards rated 4+ or preschool for your 4-year-old, for example.

    Making Your Own

    Making your own recipe cards for your child is easy to do. You can type recipes out on the computer or print them on index cards by hand. Since your toddler or preschooler probably can't read yet, use visual cues to help her understand the recipe. For instance, instead of just writing that two eggs are called for in the ingredient list, draw two eggs, side by side. If the recipe calls for a banana, write out the word and then draw a picture of a banana beside it.

    Tips for Success

    As you probably already know, kids are -- well, messy. Kids cooking? Even messier. In the interest of preserving your hard work on the recipe cards, use clear contact paper to laminate the cards by laying the cards out face down on the sticky side of the contact paper, then laying another sheet over the back of the cards and cutting them out, trimming the contact paper to size. This will protect the cards and make them easier to clean up from sticky fingers and jelly smears. To make the cards visually appealing to your little one, use simple recipes and bright colors to print out the recipes. Consider getting a little box to store the cards in so you know where they are in between uses.

    Free or Cheap Alternatives

    Moms who aren't very good cooks or who don't have strong artistic skills, as well as those who are on a budget, have some cheaper ways to get recipe cards that don't involve writing or drawing. Print recipes out from sites like ChildrensRecipes.com that are geared to young kids and cut and laminate those recipes for future use with your little chef. You can also check out the cookbook section of your town library and make photocopies of recipes you like from kids cookbooks. Cut the photocopied pages to size and poof! You have recipe cards for only the price of the photocopy.

    About the Author

    Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.

    Photo Credits

    • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images