Whether you're hosting a holiday meal or bringing a side dish to your family feast, you can start a new tradition by letting your kids choose and prepare (or help to prepare) their favorite side dish. For younger children, ask them to select from a few different recipes that you suggest, but older kids and teenagers might be more excited about contributing a new recipe that they find on their own. If you're concerned about bringing something kid-made to a friend's fancy dinner, or if you're tasked with bringing creamed onions to your sister-in-law's house (again!), have the kids make or decorate a batch of cookies. Even the youngest toddler can shake on some sprinkles, and other children at the party will be sure to welcome the extra dessert.
If holiday season is too far away, why not start your own family holiday, and let kids plan the menu and help cook? Your day can be something meaningful for your family or just something silly and fun, like a pet's birthday or a celebration of a first loose tooth. Put the kids in charge of breakfast, brunch, or dinner for parents' birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day, or let siblings cook birthday dinners for one another. (The birthday child gets to choose the menu!)
Of course, there's no need to wait for a holiday to get kids excited about cooking. On the next page, you'll find ideas to make everyday cooking fun for children of all ages.