Cooking with Kids in and Around Boston: Classes, Camps, and Parties
Whether our kids are adventurous eaters or too timid to try anything beyond boxed mac ’n’ cheese, teaching them about food prep, healthy eating, and nutrition is one of the more important things we as parents can do for their well being. Cooking together at home is one way to do this, but there are also plenty of opportunities for “instructive” fun through kids’ cooking classes and workshops.
One of the appealing aspects of kids’ cooking instruction is that it quite often takes the form of a single-class workshop or two- to three-session program. So, even if your children have regular sports team commitments or semester-long dance or music classes, they can still satisfy their inner foodies without missing a goal or a beat. Plus, many kids’ cooking classes are offered during those long school vacations or summer breaks—just the thing to keep kids engaged and entertained. Cooking workshops also make fun birthday parties - kids learn something, have fun, and are well fed. And (maybe best of all!), no mess for the parents. (More cooking party ideas here.)
We’ve rounded up five places that offer kids’ cooking classes and workshops in and around Boston. Get ready for your kids to cook up something great!
Create a Cook offers a diverse array of classes - from cupcakes to meatballs.
- School Year Cooking Classes: Kids ages 3 to 15 learn how to cook in a hands-on, safe, fun environment. They make healthy and nutritious food, learning about foods from different cultures along the way. The school year is divided into seven 5-week terms. These sessions register on a first-come, first served basis. Classrooms are specially designed for kids of all ages—with adjustable tables and chairs, kitchen tools that are safe and user-friendly, and a warm and welcoming environment.
- Adult/Child Classes: Children ages 5 and up plus a parent/caregiver can spend an evening or afternoon learning to cook together. Themes range from Everyday Italian to Crazy Cupcakes to specific holiday themes.
- Birthday parties are available for children ages 4 and up on Saturdays and Sundays, and include multiple choices of party meal themes.
- Create a Cook also offers summer camp programs and school vacation programs during December, February and April school breaks.
Cooking Up Culture—Boston
For children and young adults ages 8–18, Cooking Up Culture introduces some of the great cuisines from around the world. During the interactive, hands-on class, kids cook with local ingredients and authentic recipes, learn basic cooking techniques, and enjoy a meal together. Note that classes fill up quickly—enroll via the website at least six weeks in advance.
Kids Cooking Green specializes in local and healthy ingredients.
Kids Cooking Green—Lexington, other locations
With an eye toward grounding kids in the importance of fresh, local ingredients, KCG offers the following:
- 5-Week Program: Elementary school children learn what is local, what is healthy and why this is all important. Each class has a nutritional component, an environmental component, and a cooking lesson. The program culminates in a nutritious meal for family and friends, all planned and cooked by the children using locally grown ingredients.
- One-Day Workshops (for parties or groups): Kids Cooking Green offers a number of one-day workshops, including pasta making, cheese making, cookie baking, pie making, and more. Workshops are geared primarily for children grades 2 to 6
Kids make their own baguettes at Panera Bread Bakers in Training.
Panera Bread Bakers in Training—Multiple locations
Looking for a cooking activity that's going to appeal to a diverse group of kids (school class, scout group, birthday party, for example)? Panera Bread may have an answer with its Bakers in Training workshop: an introductory culinary experience during which kids ages 5 to 12 learn the essentials of kitchen safety, proper food handling, and food preparation. Groups must register a minimum of 10 children in order to set up a class, and classes last approximately an hour and a half.
Children learn the fundamentals of our bread-making craft by stretching & scoring their very own French baguette to bake onsite and bring home. They'll also learn the art of cookie decorating by decorating their very own sugar cookie. Plus, all B.I.T Kids are outfitted with their own paper baking hat and apron.
The following Panera Bread Bakery-Cafés in and around Boston offer Bakers in Training throughout the year except for late November and December: Boston, Burlington, Danvers, Dedham, Everett, Franklin, Hanover, Hingham, Medford, Quincy, Saugus, Stoughton, Waltham, and Watertown. Panera suggests you reserve a spot at least three weeks in advance.
The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts—Classes
Have an older kid who's serious about cooking? The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts has a series of classes for kids ages 12 to 16 that introduces budding chefs and pastry chefs to the world of cooking and baking. Classes include Techniques of Cooking I & II for Teens and Techniques of Baking I, II and III for Teens. CSCA also offers "Teen Tours" of international culinary specialties, with tours of Spain, Italy and Asia. For teens and pre-teens wanting to start baking, there's a Bake Shop Basics class for teens, and another for pre-teens.
Originally published October 2013; updated August 2014 by Tara D; updated September 2017 by Fiona Haley
Top photo: The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Photos courtesy of the programs