DIY Kids' Cooking Camp, at Home

DIY Kids' Cooking Camp, at Home: Recipe and Activities for 4-to-7-Year-Olds

In Part I of our culinary adventure camp, kids cook their way to France, Mexico, and beyond, with easy recipes and bonus activities

Article and quiche recipe and photos by Ashley Strickland Freeman

Design by Mickey Stretton

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you follow the link and make a purchase, Yummly makes a commission.

Also check out part II of our Kids Cooking Camp, recipes for kids age 8-to-14.

Hi Kids! Welcome to the Yummly Kids’ Cooking Camp! Are you ready for a week full of culinary adventures? This week we're going to take a delicious trip around the world exploring the cuisines of France, Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy. We’ll try some fun recipes, learn some fun facts about each of these countries, and so much more. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Parents: This week of camp is geared toward 4- to 7-year-olds, but older children are definitely welcome too — if they’re comfortable in the kitchen, they may be able to complete the recipes from start to finish all on their own. There will be elements within these recipes where adult help will be needed (for things like placing pans in the oven, cooking on the stovetop, and grating cheese). I’ve included notes for each recipe as a heads-up. Your child will be able to help with measuring ingredients, whisking, pouring, and so much more — important skills to help them gain confidence in the kitchen! 

(If your older kids want more of a challenge, join us back here in about a week for the older-kids edition of Yummly Kids' Cooking Camp.)

Get ready to cook

Before we get started, you’ll want to check your kitchen cupboards and drawers for some essential cooking tools, get your ingredients, and get clean and organized.

Equipment: Parents, you won’t need anything fancy for this week of cooking, but the following items could be helpful for your child: 

Child-size apron

Kid-friendly knives

• Non-breakable mixing bowls

• Non-breakable measuring spoons and measuring cups

Ingredients: You may want to take advantage of the Yummly Meal Planner and Shopping List for purchasing ingredients you need for this week of cooking.

Kids’ check-list: The first step to cooking success is a clean, organized workspace. 

• For each recipe, set out all of the ingredients you need on the counter. 

• An apron can help keep you clean in case of any spills. 

• And don’t forget to wash your hands!

Now that we’ve got all of our equipment and kitchen tools ready, let’s say Bon Voyage!

Jump ahead to:

Day 1: A trip to France >>

Day 2: Let’s visit Mexico >>

Day 3: We’re off to the United Kingdom >>

Day 4: A journey to Japan >>

Day 5: Destination Italy >>

Day 1: A trip to France

Bienvenue à France, mes amies! (Welcome to France, my friends!) Did you know that in France, there are over 400 types of cheese? Wow! The French sure do love their fromage (cheese)! How many types of cheese can you name? 

One dish we will be making today has cheddar cheese in it, but you can use another favorite cheese if you’d like. We will be making quiche, a classic French dish that you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  

Ham and Cheddar Quiche Cups

Yummly Original

Ask an adult or older sibling to help you:

• Preheat the oven

• Grate the cheese (if pre-shredded wasn’t purchased)

• Put the baking sheet in the oven and take it out

• Use a spoon or small sharp knife to remove some of the centers from the pastries.

Serve the quiche cups with a simple mixed green salad. (Kids, you can help cut cherry tomatoes in half and slice cucumbers.) You can even set your dining table to look like a French bistro (restaurant), complete with handmade menus.

We can’t forget about dessert! You know what else the French are famous for? Chocolate mousse. Let’s make a super quick and easy version.

Easy 2-Minute Chocolate Mousse

The most fun thing about this recipe is that you make it in a jar with only 4 ingredients and some muscle power. You’re going to shake to get it thick! Note that the recipe only makes 1 serving, so you may want to make extra depending on the size of your family and everybody’s appetites.

Bonus activities

The Tour de France is a famous bicycle race that takes place each summer. Cyclists bike all over the country of France, through the mountains, big cities, and countryside. If you have a bike, set up a race course in your driveway or a safe place in your neighborhood and see how fast you can go. If it’s rainy outside, why not watch the movie Ratatouille and see what creations the chef rat makes?

Day 2: Let’s visit Mexico

Hola! (Hello!) Today, we are going to visit Mexico and make beef enchiladas and classic guacamole. 

Mexico is divided into nine regions, each with its own special recipes and ingredients. Three of the many ingredients important in Mexican cooking are avocados, corn, and peppers. Mexico is the largest producer of avocados in the world, and it boasts 59 native varieties of corn. Our recipes today feature both (if you use corn tortillas in the enchiladas and serve the guacamole with corn tortilla chips).

Let’s start on the guacamole first. 

Kid-Friendly Guacamole

Ask an adult or older sibling to help you:

• Pit the avocados. Then you can use a spoon to scoop out the avocado from the peels. 

Be sure to save at least one avocado pit if you want to do the bonus activity today!

Serve the guacamole with tortilla chips for a snack or with the enchiladas. Don’t worry if the top of your guacamole begins to brown. This is called oxidation, and it’s what happens when the avocado is exposed to oxygen in the air. The acid from the lime juice should help prevent it from changing color, but if you have any leftovers, cover the top directly with food-safe wrap to help keep the oxygen out.

Next let’s get the enchiladas together so they’re ready to eat for dinner tonight. 

The Best Ground Beef Enchiladas

Ask an adult or older sibling to help you:

• Preheat the oven

• Brown the ground beef mixture on the stovetop (parents, kids can help crumble the beef by using a potato masher while it cooks)

• Grate the cheese (if pre-shredded wasn’t purchased)

• Put the baking dish in the oven and take it out

Bonus activities

Save the pit from your avocados and grow an avocado tree. You can also make mini piñatas

Day 3: We’re off to the United Kingdom

How do you do? Today we are in the United Kingdom trying out shepherd’s pie and creating the perfect treat for afternoon teatime: raspberry hand pies.  

You may already be familiar with some fun facts about this country. The United Kingdom is home to The Queen, double decker buses, and Stonehenge (a prehistoric monument consisting of a circle of stones built to serve as a sort of clock). Between the hours of 3 and 5 PM (around the time children come home from school), most everyone pauses for teatime, enjoying a snack of small sandwiches, scones, and pastries accompanied by tea. Have you ever had a tea party? We’ll have our own today! 

Let’s get started on the shepherds pie for dinner. You can make it in the morning, let it cool, and refrigerate it. Then reheat it after you finish your tea party.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Ask an adult or older sibling to help you:

• Preheat the oven

• Slice the carrots

• Brown the vegetables and ground beef mixture on the stovetop

• Grate the cheese (if pre-shredded wasn’t purchased)

• Put the baking dish in the oven and take it out

• Refrigerate and reheat the Shepherd’s Pie if you’re making it ahead of time 

Note to Parents: This recipe calls for mashed potatoes. Feel free to use your favorite recipe or purchase premade mashed potatoes. For those with pickier children, you can also make a “deconstructed” shepherd’s pie, leaving all of the ingredients separate.

Now that we have dinner prepared, let’s have a tea party. We can make cucumber sandwiches (sliced cucumbers on white bread spread with cream cheese) and raspberry hand pies. 

Kid-Friendly Raspberry Hand Pies

These hand pies are so fun! We will make our own raspberry jam filling (feel free to use jam you have on hand if you prefer) and cut out pie crust dough to make mini pies. I like to use a small cookie cutter to create a unique design on the top. 

Ask an adult or older sibling to help you:

• Preheat the oven

• Make the raspberry filling on the stovetop

• Put the baking sheet in the oven and take it out

Bonus activities

You can practice 24 different ways to say “hello” in British English. Be king or queen for the day and make your own crown. You can also make teacups for a tea party.

Day 4: A journey to Japan

Konichiwa! (Good day). Today we are visiting Japan, a country made of four main islands and many small ones. Japan is home to Mt. Fuji, a dormant volcano that is 12,388 feet. That is one tall mountain! The country is also known for its cherry blossom trees that flower in the spring. People from all over the world come to see them. 

Japan is home to some delicious dishes including favorites like teriyaki chicken and sushi. Did you know that the Japanese eat a diet mainly of rice, soy, vegetables, and fish? Instead of chairs, most Japanese people sit on floor mats. They also eat their food with chopsticks. In addition to teriyaki, we will be making our own fun version of sushi (without any fish or rice). We’re making dessert sushi!

First let’s get started with dinner. Teriyaki is often served with steamed rice and vegetables. 

20-Minute Teriyaki Chicken

Ask an adult or older sibling to help you:

• Make rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop

• Cut broccoli into florets and steam it

• Saute the chicken

• Cook the sauce

Next let’s make the dessert sushi. Experiment with different shapes and designs!

Rice Krispie Treat ‘Sushi’

Bonus activities

Origami is a Japanese tradition of folding paper into shapes and common objects. Try these origami projects. And how about making your own cherry blossom trees?

Day 5: Destination Italy

On our last day, we’ll say arrivederci (goodbye) in Italy. This boot-shaped country is home to many dishes you probably already love. 

Did you know that most Italians eat pasta every day? And did you know that pizza was invented in Naples, Italy? Today we will be making both of those dishes: some easy and yummy lasagna and a dessert pizza.

The lasagna is special because instead of building it the usual way, in layers in a baking dish, you’re going to spread out the noodles on the counter, cover each of them with the filling ingredients, and then roll them up — and put the rolls in a dish.

Lasagna Roll Ups

Ask an adult or older sibling to help you:

• Preheat the oven

• Cook the lasagna noodles

• Brown the meat on the stovetop

• Grate the cheese (if pre-shredded wasn’t purchased)

• Put the baking dish in the oven and take it out

• Put together a green salad to go with the lasagna

With dinner ready to go, now it’s time to make our super-fun pizza dessert! This recipe has strawberries, kiwi, cherries, and blueberries for toppings, but feel free to use your favorite fruit. 

Summer Fruit Dessert Pizza

Ask an adult or older sibling to help you:

• Preheat the oven

• Put the baking sheet in the oven and take it out

• Use a mixer to make the icing

Bonus activities

In Venice, Italy, people wear masks for Carnival. Get creative and make your own mask. Have you ever heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Make your own leaning tower with Jenga pieces and see how tall it can go.

That concludes our trip around the world for this week. Thanks for joining me! I hope you had fun!

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