Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Top Cooking Apps to Help Children in the Kitchen

I remember helping my mom bake a Betty Crocker cake for my dad's birthday when I was a child. She had me counting eggs, helping gather ingredients and follow along with the instructions. There are so many important skills that can be learned while in the kitchen. Cooking is full of lessons having to do with math, eye/hand coordination, following directions and more. Here are some apps to help get a child started in the kitchen  many could be adapted for use in classrooms or therapy sessions as well.

The thing I love most about cooking with kids is how easy it is to adapt to their ability. Something as simple as mixing dry ingredients into a trail mix can help work on hand-eye coordination, counting, and fine motor skills while pouring and stirring. No matter the skill level, children will need to practice following step by step directions, listening (or reading), time management and patience. Not to mention cooking can help build self esteem and add new life skills as kids become more comfortable around the kitchen.

A few personal tips when working with kids in the kitchen. 
  • Estimate a recipe to take about two to three times longer to make than normal. 
  • Get as many ingredients together beforehand as possible.
  • Crack eggs into a separate bowl and let kids pour them in. If a child is advanced enough to crack the egg alone, it is easier to remove any stray shell from the bowl than if it goes straight into the other ingredients.
  • Don't forget, kids can (and should) help with cleaning up after, even if it's putting bowls in the sink. 
  • Be familiar with a recipe before attempting to prepare with a child.

Kid specific cooking apps
These apps provide a varying range of difficulty specifically geared towards children. Many offer instructional videos as well as recipes which appeal to a wide range of young palates.

WeCookit by Mango Tree Ltd. 
Do you really love food? Pizza, Chocolate Fondue, French Crepes? Make the kitchen your playground. Learn how to easily make food you love and share your creations with your family and friends. WeCookit is a new cooking platform for families that enjoy sharing their passion for food. Packed with recipes for great food that kids love to eat and can easily make. Designed and exclusive on iPad.

Provides allergy alerts - calling out recipes that are gluten and dairy free

$2.99, iPad Only

Cooking Fun For Kids: Healthy Playful Recipes, Food Games, and Videos for Kids in the Kitchen by Bean Sprouts by Playrific, Inc.
Top children’s app developer, Playrific, in partnership with Bean Sprouts -- a hip and healthy kid-friendly cafĂ© and cooking school -- introduces a new experiential learning app: Bean Sprouts: Cooking Fun for Kids in the Kitchen.

The Bean Sprouts Cooking Fun For Kids app is filled with fun and healthy kid-friendly recipes, videos, games, books, photos and puzzles designed to empower, entertain and educate kids to cook and eat healthfully.

$0.99, iPad/iPhone

Big Fork Little Fork by Kraft New Services, Inc.
You and your kids will have a blast in the kitchen with recipes, video how-to’s and educational games aimed at getting the whole family to cook together, eat together, and live well together, all brought to you by Kraft Foods. Chef Marcus Samuelsson content available for purchase in the Big Fork Little Fork SHOP within TOOLS.

Big Fork Little Fork is a parent’s best resource to help raise kids with smart eating habits and an appreciation for food. If you’ve ever been frustrated by your child’s eating habits, this is the perfect app for you.

FREE, iPad only

Nicolas' Garden By AppMatrix Inc.
Inspired by 8 year-old Nicolas, from the Farm to Fork Capitol of the world in the Sacramento Valley, Nicolas' Garden is a kid-centric and family-friendly, easy-to-use mobile recipe app "for kids by kids."

In Nicolas' Garden, it' is all about making healthy cooking, eating, and shopping fun and empowering for kids ages 5 to 15 while teaching them important independent living and lifestyle skills. Nicolas' mobile app helps moms and dads in their quest to teach their kids to be healthy choosers, and to want to take healthier, more informed steps about food.

FREE, iPhone/iPad x2

Great British Chefs Kids by Great British Chefs Ltd
The app, developed in association with Tesco Real Food, delivers 105 easy-to-follow recipes, which have been specially conceived to be cooked with children. These exclusive recipes range from fun tea-time dinners such as ‘pizza hearts,’ ‘campfire chilli con carne’ or ‘Rice Krispie fish fingers’ to special treats like ‘bacon ropy polies,’ ‘choux caterpillar,’ ‘sweetcorn and tomato muffins’ and ‘popping chocolate orange bites’ to tasty desserts like ‘tropical fruit rockets’ or ‘London Eye tart.’

The app also includes a series of How To videos, four of which are pre-downloaded, specifically created to help children learn some of the basics as well as some of the more complicated techniques involved.

iPad                                iPhone

Also check out Great British Chefs Kids Christmas edition
iPad                                iPhone

Grown up cook book apps
These apps are not specifically designed for children, but they offer many recipes that children would still be able to help with. There are also many techniques and guides to help more advanced child-chefs as well as adults seeking to learn new cooking skills. How to Cook Everything happens to be my favorite all-time cooking app, while Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks (and now the app) have held a special spot in my family's kitchens for generations.

Must-Have Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens by Meredith Corporation
Now you can get the very best-of-the-best recipes, secrets, and tips — inspired by our famous Better Homes and Gardens Red Plaid cookbooks — absolutely FREE! In all, more than 570 free recipes, with photos of every one...

Mouthwatering main dishes. Savory salads and sides. Creamy casseroles. Quick and easy everyday dinners. Slow-cooker sensations. Bubbly stews. Our most decadent desserts.

FREE, iPad/iPhone

How to Cook Everything by Culinate, Inc.
This first-of-its-kind app of the bestselling cookbook—How to Cook Everything® from New York Times columnist Mark Bittman—has 2,000 recipes, 400 how-to illustrations, and a host of features that appeal to cooks on the go.

In the app you’ll find:
• The full content of the multiple-award-winning How to Cook Everything®: all 2,000 recipes and variations.
• Bittman’s no-nonsense cooking guidance: how-to illustrations; equipment, technique, and ingredient information; and meal-planning ideas.

$9.99 iPad/iPhone

Also available
How to Cook Everything Essentials
This is the free sampler of the complete, bestselling, and top-rated How to Cook Everything® for iPhone app, which is based on Mark Bittman's bestselling cookbook of the same name.

FREE, iPhone/iPad x2
Offers in-app purchase for full iPhone version

Complete iPhone version
$2.99, iPhone/iPad x2

The Betty Crocker® Cookbook for iPad by General Mills Inc.

Wondering what's for dinner? Or how to make your favorite cake? Turn to the expert who's been answering those questions for decades. Betty Crocker is here to help you with this iPad version of the world-famous Betty Crocker® Cookbook.

FREE, iPad only

Also available The Betty Crocker® Mobile Cookbook by General Mills Inc.
FREE, iPhone, iPad x2

Cooking based game apps
While that cake is baking in the oven, or the Jello gelatin is setting up in the refrigerator, kids can pass the time playing these favorite food based apps.

Toca Kitchen Monsters by Toca Boca AB
Ever wanted to play with your food? Now you can! In this Monster edition of the super-hit Toca Kitchen you can cook and play with food for two hungry monsters. Pick any ingredient and prepare it in your own way! Slice, boil, fry, cook, microwave or mix? And wait for the response from the hungry monster...

Toca Kitchen Monsters is not a game - it's a toy where you and your kids get to explore cooking.

FREE, iPad/iPhone

Dr. Panda's Restaurant by TribePlay given 4.5 stars by Ron
Come to Dr. Panda’s Restaurant and cook delicious food for the animal guests! 

In this app, kids will be introduced to cooking through fun and exciting mini-games. They will be exposed to a wide range of foods as Dr. Panda has a recipe book which contains 10 different dishes and drinks. Among many others, it includes pizza, apple pie, corn soup, Chinese wok and fruit milkshakes.

$2.99, iPad/iPhone

Dr. Panda's Restaurant 2 by TribePlay given 5 stars from Rachel J
Dr. Panda’s Restaurant is re-opening, and this time all the choices are yours! Make the pizza of your dreams, a pasta dish to rave about, or a soup so spicy your customers will breathe fire! Sweet or salty? Spicy or bitter? It’s up to you!

Kids can take charge in their own kitchen in Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2! Future fine chefs have the freedom to choose what they want to prepare and exactly how they’d like to prepare it! Chop, grate, blend, fry and more with over 20 ingredients and create the perfect (or perfectly disgusting!) dish! Feed them to your customers and pay attention to how they react--it’ll be different every time! In Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2 you can be a master chef, so get cooking! 

$2.99, iPad/iPhone

Rachel H loves to cook, but is pretty sure her youngest sister could burn water.

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