girl cooking with mom

Cooking Classes for Tweens: Motivating Tweens to Cook Gains Time Back for Mom!

Our eCourse was the solution to this mom’s desire to pass on her love of cooking, teach her kids life skills and find skill-based cooking classes for tweens. Read on to hear their story!

Getting kids in the kitchen definitely supercharges confidence and creativity for your kids, but it’s not always easy to get started.

Do your kids complain when you ask them to help? Make mistakes? Slow you down?

I’d like to introduce you to Adria, a widowed mom in California who experienced all those roadblocks but was able to use our Kids Cook Real Food eCourse to get her two daughters motivated and confident in the kitchen, eating new things, and even teaching their skills to younger children.

tween girl cutting cantaloupe

How do You Share a Love of Cooking With Your Kids?

Adria learned to cook as a kid because her mom cooked a little too “rustic,” and it was the only way to avoid the huge chunks of veggies at every meal. See? Our tastebuds change as we grow! 😉

RELATED: The “tiny salad” picky eating hack!

She still loves cooking and really desires to pass those skills on to her two girls, ages 10 and 12.

“My goal is to raise kids who succeed in the real world,” Adria told me, but she was running into problems:

Whenever I asked my oldest to help with dinner, I was met with much resistance and complaining.

The 10-year-old likes being in the kitchen but has sensory processing issues and struggles with it after being GF/DF for 6 years.

Plus, I’m struggling too. They don’t slow down and read the whole recipe, so it’s easier on ME if they are not in such a hurry that they make mistakes. The girls aren’t listening to my attempts to keep them safe with knives, so I’m finding myself avoiding opportunities to invite them into the kitchen.

#FAIL: Subscription Box Attempt

As an over-achiever, Adria was frustrated and turned to the “in” Christmas gift for 2017: a subscription box that promised to get the kids cooking.

It was going ok, and her daughters were definitely trying some new foods, but the recipe cards didn’t explain the “how-to” in enough detail.

“Mooooom, I’m hungry!!”

How many times do your kids ask for snacks each day? Wouldn’t it be a relief if they were empowered to prepared their own snacks, instead of coming to you and whining about how hungry they are?

Download and print:


The potato-leek soup for Irish month was a hit, shocking Mom (They tried it! And liked it! faint) — but the girls needed help cutting the potatoes, washing the leeks, and figuring out what a “simmer” was.

cooking subscription box

Not exactly the vision Adria was hoping for since she still had to figure out how to explain all that while her daughters were trying to rush through to the end of the project.

The Solution: Cooking Classes for Tweens

Then Adria discovered Kids Cook Real Food while searching for other options and immediately thought it would be a great supplement to the subscription box.

When she watched the introduction videos, she knew this was the skill-building cooking class she was looking for.

Our whole cooking course is built on the idea that we need to teach kids skills, not just recipes.

Fun Language and Video Teaching WORKS

Adria and her daughters found that the fun language really sticks with them. Even though Adria had been telling her kids for years to keep their fingers out of the way…it never worked until the KCRF eCourse.

Now the 12-year-old chants “Hey, Hey Outta the Way” and keeps her fingers clear of the sharp knife.

“…only because Mrs. Kimball named it?” Maybe. But either way, we’ve saved this girl’s fingers from the chopping block!

Paleovalley Meat Sticks

It can be hard to find healthy snacks that you can take with you on the go. When I want the convenience of a jerky stick, but want a healthy, protein-packed snack option, I grab Paleovalley meat sticks. Paleovalley ingredients have these high standards that you can feel good about:

100% grass fed beef sticks, pasture raised beef sticks

  • 100% Grass-Fed Beef & 100% Pasture-Raised Turkey
  • Never given antibiotics or hormones
  • Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free
  • 0 grams of sugar*
  • Contains no artificial nitrates or nitrites
  • Non-GMO
  • Naturally fermented and contain gut-friendly probiotics!

*With the exception of Teriyaki, which contains 2 grams of sugar from Organic Honey.

These beef sticks and turkey sticks taste delicious! My favorite is the Jalapeño but my kids love Summer Sausage.

Use this link to get 15% off your order at Paleovalley. Read my Paleovalley Review to learn more!

It turns out that having someone other than mom doing the instruction makes all the difference:

They watched the video and acted like they learned something new even though Mom had already taught them!

They’re still working through the videos, modifying what they do to fit what they like. (Our class is super flexible like that!)

Kids Cook Real Food stir fry lesson

For example, in Class 3 they made a stir fry without certain veggies for the kids (but still chopped them up for Mom), and they loved the hospitality video so much that setting the table has become a new favorite activity.

Parenting 101: You can NEVER guess what they’ll like!

And yes, Adria HAD tried to get them to set the table in the past, “but after watching Mrs. Kimball’s videos, they finally bought into it.”

By the way, there’s definitely a best and worst time to let your kids help you in the kitchen. See what they are here.

Teaching Kids to Cook Leads to Ownership, Not Complaining

Now when Adria asks for help in the kitchen, there’s hardly any grumbling at all.

Both girls are very willing to help out and use their skills, and Mom sees a real sense of ownership about having their own cooking tools and skills.

She loves hearing them say, “Let me use my peeler for this,” when they’re all cooking together with “Everything is Awesome” blasting in the background.

tween cooking chicken

One night, while Adria put together the salad and her 10-year-old worked on a parfait recipe for dessert, the 12-year-old was in charge of the main course:

Now that she’s learned basic cooking skills with Kids Cook Real Food, she made pasta, heated sauce, and homemade meatballs, and cut and steamed broccoli effortlessly!

And Adria even squeezed in some exercise before dinner!

Building Confidence in the Kitchen: Check!

The girls have gone on to take some local in-person cooking classes, where the 10-year-old taught all the little kids how to cut up bell peppers because of the confidence gained from Kids Cook Real Food.

They’re so proud now that they’re able to make even complicated recipes like lasagna from the subscription box by themselves.

Mom has continued her goal of independence too — she takes her daughters shopping and requires them to do authentic life skills like talking to the butcher. If you need a laugh, check out these life skill comedy sketches we did last year!

As they walk through the grocery store, they reminisce about meals they’ve made as they catch sight of ingredients like dry beans (refried beans from Class 5 Advanced) or pumpkin (pancakes from Class 6 Intermediate).

Now it’s Your Turn!

When I asked her what she tells friends about Kids Cook Real Food, Adria said, “If you’re a parent who doesn’t really cook yourself, how are you going to teach your child? We have to remember that we need to let them go a little and teach life skills, but it has to be intentional.”

Are you ready to be intentional about this — whether you know how to cook or not?

Plenty of parents learn right along with their kids through our video lessons, and there’s never a better time to start on independence, life skills, and cutting the complaining than right now!


If your kids are 8 and up, check out Kids Cook Solo. No adult instruction needed to get the older kiddos through the course!

What’s your biggest struggle getting your tweens in the kit0chen?

cooking classes for tweens at kids cook real food

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector

Katie Kimball

I interview experts about kids’ health every week – stay in the loop with a quick Saturday morning email:



2. Try a Free Preview of my Cooking Class for Kids

Our members’ favorite lesson is always our 10-minute knife skills and safety class, teaching techniques with unique & memorable phrases from butter knives to chef’s knives (ages 2-teen). Take a peek here and try it out with your kids.

3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:

Enroll now in the Wall Street Journal’s #1 recommended online cooking class for kids (also rated 5 stars on Facebook). See what fits your family best HERE.

About Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.

Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.

A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.

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