Outdoor Cooking with Kids

Outdoor cooking with kids can prove to be a productive activity to keep children busy, expose them to fresh air, and teach them some responsibility. While it's essential that an adult supervise all cooking activities the children engage in, you should allow the kids to participate as much as possible in the experience.

Remind the Kids of Safety Tips

Whether you're using a grill or a campfire for your outdoor cooking experience, you should remind the kids of cooking safety tips before you begin:

  • Ask that the kids stay a few feet away from the source of heat if they're using a skewer and that they wear oven mitts if they're going to be taking hot items off of a grill or rack (If they're too young, you should remove the items for them).
  • Remind the kids that they're not to run, jump or play around the grill or campfire. Anyone who doesn't remain calm will have to have a timeout and will not get to participate.
  • Be on hand to show the kids the proper way to make sure a campfire is totally out after you've finished cooking. Explain the importance of fire safety.

Choose Simple Meals

Kids enjoy outdoor cooking for the fun of the experience and don't require fancy recipes in order to have fun. Stick to the basics, which tend to be more suited to a child's palate regardless. Some good outdoor cooking ideas for kids include:

  • Hamburgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Chicken
  • Meatloaf
  • Potatoes
  • Other sliced veggies
  • Corn on the cob
  • Eggs
  • Tacos in bags
  • Marshmallows 

You can tailor the experience to your children's preferences. The older the kids are, the more they'll be able to handle, so you can try out some more complex recipes.

Try Aluminum Foil and Skewer Recipes

The easiest and safest way to have kids participate in outdoor cooking is to have the kids cook on a skewer or in aluminum foil. Allow the kids to shape their own hamburger patties, for example, and they can put the patty in aluminum foil along with sliced veggies, particularly potatoes. If the kids are old enough to handle a knife and peeler under supervision, they can prepare their veggies for their aluminum foil themselves.

Use Crockery for More Complex Recipes

You can also use crockery designed for use on a campfire rack or a grill. This allows for more complex recipes, such as scrambled eggs and omelets, cakes, brownies and more. Make sure the recipe is appropriate for the age level of the child. Most kids can easily mix together cake mixes, for example, but you may need to wait until the child is older for him to crack eggs and measure the ingredients.

Teaching the Children Responsibility

Fun is the best tool when it comes to teaching children responsibility. As you engage the children in outdoor cooking, make sure they're having a good time and be sure to praise them when they successfully put together a meal and cook it following the safety rules you've established. Tell them that their help is necessary in order to make a meal everyone can enjoy.