How to Create a Kid’s Cookbook with your Daycare Kids

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Kids love to cook and they learn so much from it. We turn cooking into a gift for the daycare parents by making a children’s cookbook.

Cooking with kids teaches them fine motor skills, math, pre-reading, and critical thinking skills. Plus, cooking is SCIENCE! It’s easy to create a kid’s cookbook with your daycare kids.

Kids are more likely to try or like healthy foods if they help prepare them, so it’s a big part of getting kids to eat healthy. For the past 14 years, I have produced a little cookbook with recipes we have made featuring the kids making them.

children's cookbooks arranged on a table, some stapled, some bound.

How to Create a Children’s Cookbook with your Daycare Kids

I give this cookbook as a gift to my daycare parents at Christmas time.  I do almost one recipe a day for the month of November.  In December, I work up the cookbook. 

Making sure you get pictures of each child present making each recipe is a challenge, but it’s a keepsake the parents can treasure.  In addition, it encourages families to cook together. 

I have had many parents tell me their kids ask to get the cookbook out and cook a recipe with them.  Anything that gives parents a fun activity to do with their kids is a winner in my book.

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Table on contents of children's cookbook on the table

Kid’s cookbook

The first thing I do to prepare for the production of the kid’s cookbook is to look up recipes I might want to make. First, I choose several easy recipes and then add a few more complicated ones to round it out. I love the way cooking with the kids makes them feel.  Numerous children tell me in their teenage years that cooking was their favorite thing we did here. 

Some ideas we’ve used are:

Spaghetti pie

Apple crisp

Ice cream in a bag

Cat eyes

Homemade pretzels

Lotsa pasta

Fruit pizza

Broccoli salad

Blueberry peach smoothie

Egg and vegetable casserole

Cowboy cookies

Yogurt parfait

Banana bread

Fruit kabobs

Vegetable beef soup

Pumpkin seeds


Pumpkin pie

Peach yogurt pops

How to make a homemade cookbook

Secondly, I print each recipe how I plan to make it and make a shopping list to make sure I have all the supplies on hand.  This can get pricey, so I choose a few things that can be used for breakfast or lunch for the kids and we eat several of the recipes for snack.

I usually let them take servings of one or two of the recipes home to share with their families.  It helps Mom and Dad be connected to what we are doing here and gets them involved.

Make your own cookbook with kids

Next, I print up the cover, table of contents, and any other extra pages I need. 

After everything is prepared, I choose a recipe for each day and attach it to the wall by the table with sticky tack so we can “read” the recipe together.  This helps to show the kids that words have meaning which is an important part of pre-reading.

Then all there is left to do is get great shots of the kids making the recipe.  I prepare the ingredients and let them take turns doing whatever job comes next. 

inside page of children's cookbook showing recipe with children's photos.

Cookbook ideas design

Once I have all the pictures taken and all the recipes completed, I order prints to make the children’s cookbook.  When they arrive, I glue them onto the recipe pages and send it to the printer. 

They add a clear cover on the front and a cardstock back for me.  Generally, I have the children’s cookbook printed in black and white and it costs a little under $100 to get enough for each family is serve. 

This year, however, the printer made an error and I received my cookbooks in color, which would have cost closer to $300 if I had ordered them that way.  Happy accident for me. 

This children’s cookbook is a very personal gift that can be enjoyed by the whole family and treasured for years.  If you don’t teach, they would make GREAT gifts for grandparents or someone like that. 

Shutterfly cookbook

Recently, I have started making the cookbooks in Shutterfly and have loved how they are turning out. You could use Snapfish or other photo products as well. We just make the smallest 8 x 8 size book in softcover. They look amazing! It’s fun to create a cookbook with kids. 

Shutterfly cookbook for kids

Please remember when cooking with kids to be patient, mistakes will be made, messes will happen, and it’s time-consuming, but oh so worth it! 

What are some great gifts you have given that are treasured for a long time into the future?

Don’t forget to pin for later

Kids love to cook and they learn so much from it. We turn cooking into a gift for the daycare parents by making a children's cookbook.

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    1. We make a different set every year, but that’s a great idea. I’ll work on gathering all the recipes and making a post about it so people can choose what they want to make and use them. Thank you!