The Best Things To Make With Your Kids

Baking and cooking with kids is a great way to spend time together. Making dishes as a family is almost as fun as eating them! When kids help make food, they may be more excited about what they're eating. It's also a good learning opportunity, teaching kids about measurement, order, and even the science of baking as you combine ingredients and heat them in the oven. 

Yes, you'll probably make a mess of your kitchen as you let kids loose with these recipes — and you might have to fish some eggshells out of a batter or two — but baking and cooking with your kids can introduce a love of making food early on in their lives. Young children can pour ingredients and stir, older ones can practice their measuring skills (and maybe help with the cleanup, too).

Even if kids don't remember what they learned or even exactly what they made, they'll remember how fun it was to spend time whipping up tasty treats with you in the kitchen. Try these recipes that are fun for kids to make and eat as a family.

Rainbow cake

There's a lot to love about this extremely colorful cake: its eye-popping looks, the super sweet taste with extra frosting in between the layers, and how easy it is to pull off. With simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, it's likely you can throw it together quickly without a special trip to the store.

This rainbow cake takes a few extra steps you wouldn't need with a single-colored cake, but we're guessing your kids will think it's worth it! The key is this cake's rainbow color: kids can help you divide the batter into six different bowls to color the batter. Then, you'll bake each color in separate layers. You can bake them one or two at a time if you don't have enough pans to do it all at once. 

Once the baking is done, you'll assemble each layer one on top of the other with generous buttercream frosting in between. Let the kids go wild topping the frosting with sprinkles or candy (or both) for a fun and colorful treat!

Fairy bread

Fairy bread is a staple at kids' parties in Australia and New Zealand, and it's easy to see why: with lots of color and sugary sprinkles, it's appealing to kids and playful to make. All you need is bread, butter, and sprinkles.

Kids can butter their bread slices (cover the whole piece of bread from edge to edge), then make creative designs with sprinkles on top. You can use cookie cutters to cut the bread into shapes, or you can use them as stencils to drop designs on to the bread. Want to get more creative? You can use parchment paper to make your own designs and drop the sprinkles through.

Fairy bread doesn't require any baking — when you have the sprinkles the way you want them, just gently press them in to the butter with your finger so they don't easily slide off as you serve and eat your bread. 

Cake pops

If your kids love cake, you can really blow their minds with cake pops. A portable cake that's covered in candy coating and decorated takes dessert to the next level. While there are multiple steps required to make cake pops, these are a great recipe to make with kids. All the steps and wait times break the baking process into small, manageable chunks. That way, you only need to keep the kids' attention for about 20 minutes at a time as you go through the steps.

One of the most important steps of cake pops is crumbling the cake down, which is an exciting adventure for kids! Let them get their hands in there and smash the cake until it's broken up. Coating the pops in candy coating might be a little beyond the skill level of most young bakers, but they can certainly help decorate them. Have bowls ready to add sprinkles, crushed cookies, nuts, and other toppings as the candy coating hardens.

Cookie cake

What's better than cake? A humongous cookie that's turned into a cake! Expand your kids' understanding of what a cake — or cookie — can be with this cookie cake recipe. This extra-large cookie is simple to make, and you'll save time not having to ball the dough into individual cookie sizes. Top it with frosting, candy, and sprinkles, and you've got a dessert that's perfect for birthdays or an extra-fun weekend.

This cookie cake recipe is versatile, so you can let kids choose what they want to put in the cookie dough, and what they want on top. Although the base cookie recipe is sweet enough on its own, chocolate chips, candy, or colorful sprinkles can get baked in the cookie dough. And once you've added frosting, you can add toppings of their choice, too, for more color and flavor. This cookie cake is extra tasty served up with ice cream.


Baking brownies offers a lot of payoff for not a lot of effort — the perfect starter recipe for young new bakers. With rich chocolate flavor that comes together in about an hour, kids can get near-instant gratification from baking these brownies with you. 

This classic brownie recipe uses basic ingredients you probably already have at home. It takes about 20 minutes or less to get the batter together and pour it in to the pan to bake. If your family is feeling adventurous, you can let kids choose extras to add to the brownie batter. Butterscotch chips, nuts, and coconut flakes are common additions. You could even add a little plant-based protein to your dessert with peanut butter.

Brownies can be a little tricky when it comes to dialing in the doneness, so this recipe is a good opportunity to teach kids the trick of using a toothpick to test whether your dessert is done or not. If it comes out clean, it's ready to come out of the oven! With lots of chewy chocolate flavor, these brownies go fast.

Copycat Auntie Anne's soft pretzels

If your kids love to hit you up for a soft pretzel every time you visit the mall, they might be surprised to find out you can make the same thing — or better — right at home. These copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels have all the soft, comforting carb goodness you'd find at the mall, but you can eat them fresh from your own oven. 

Baking pretzels from scratch can be a big accomplishment for kid bakers as they learn how yeast works, see the dough take shape, and then shape and bake the dough into a delicious familiar treat. It's especially fun — and challenging — for them to roll out the dough and learn how to form it into a traditional pretzel shape.

Letting kids choose and mix dipping sauces can add another layer of interest to this recipe. Melted cheese sauce, mustard, and even a cinnamon-sugar topping are all choices that offer extra flavor and extra fun.

3-ingredient Nutella cookies

With an addictive hazelnut and chocolate flavor, Nutella is a favorite among many kids' taste buds. And it's especially enticing if you're baking it into cookies that come together quickly and deliver the classic Nutella taste.

These Nutella cookies use just three ingredients: Nutella, all-purpose flour, and an egg. If your family is gluten-free, you can use gluten-free flour to make these cookies. Kids can easily stir to combine the ingredients, then carefully roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. 

Although Nutella alone may offer enough appeal to get kids interested in making and eating these cookies, you can dress them up with other ingredients for more interest. You could top them with sea salt flakes before baking, or add some cocoa powder to the dough for an extra-chocolatey kick. Another option: adding chopped nuts or chocolate chips to the dough before baking.

Apple cinnamon muffins

Muffins are a great grab-and-go breakfast, but they're not always the most healthy choice for your kids' morning meal. These apple cinnamon muffins offer fiber, fruit, and flavor for a breakfast food that's fun to make together and a good choice to eat. 

Kids can help you make a batch of these muffins in about 30 minutes, with just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes to bake. This is a good recipe to teach kids the importance of mixing your dry ingredients first, then adding the wet ones. If you're not careful to do so on this recipe, you could end up with large, unappealing clumps of flour or other dry ingredients in your final product. 

These muffins are perfect for kids to make and enjoy in the fall or any time of year with lots of apple cinnamon flavor. And they get an extra-tasty topping with a cinnamon-sugar oat streusel, too.

Pigs in a blanket

Pigs in a blanket are classic kid crowd pleasers. And the best part: you can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and they refrigerate and reheat well if you happen to have any leftovers. 

With just two ingredients, kids will be amazed at how quickly and easily these little piggies come together. All you need to make pigs in a blanket are crescent rolls and hot dogs. If you're making them for breakfast, you could swap in breakfast sausage links. 

Kids can help you pop open the crescent rolls container and separate the rolls into triangles. It's especially fun for kids to roll the hot dog or sausage up into its blanket. They bake up quickly in about 15 to 17 minutes. If your kids love cheese, you can add some sliced or shredded cheese inside the crescent roll for a gooey surprise. These are fun to dip in classic hot dog sauces of ketchup or mustard. 

Chex mix

Chex mix tends to disappear around kids and adults alike, especially around the holidays. There's just something irresistible about the savory crunch — especially if you helped make it at home. And if you have any food allergies or picky eaters in your house, you can easily swap out and replace ingredients like wheat Chex, nuts, or rye chips if they don't work for your family. Just think of it as your own house blend of Chex mix.

Kids can help combine ingredients and gently stir the mix. Show them how to do it so you have minimal breakage, as some of the pieces are a little fragile if you're just mashing away. Then you'll go through the steps of baking and gently stirring, then baking and stirring again to make sure you're baking it all evenly. Once you're done, your family will have a delicious mix to snack on.

Puppy chow

Want something sweeter than Chex mix but just as snackable? Puppy chow has a fun name kids will love — but it definitely doesn't taste like dog food. This chocolatey snack covers Chex cereal with butter, chocolate, vanilla, powdered sugar, and peanut butter. And it takes about 20 minutes to make. What's not to love? 

Kids can melt down the butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips, add vanilla, then coat the cereal. Once it's evenly coated on the cereal, you can sprinkle it with powdered sugar. You'll probably make a mess letting the kids deal with the sugar, but the impossibly light powdered sugar flavor takes this treat to the next level.

Puppy chow stores well for a few days, but it might not last long in your house once your kids find out how tasty it is. You might want to make a double batch so you can enjoy it longer or share with friends and family.

Oatmeal raisin cookies

Want a sneaky way to get your kids to eat fruit and fiber? Put it in a cookie! Better yet, have them help you put it in a cookie with this oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. This crispy oatmeal cookie is almost like a granola bar, packed with three cups of rolled oats and more than a cup of raisins.

This recipe mixes up a pretty heavy dough, so making it is a good opportunity to show kids how to use a mixer. You could mix by hand, but it requires more strength than kids probably have to spare, even if they're motivated to make cookies.

These cookies work best in one-inch balls — a good time to bring up measurement and circumference as kids learn in the kitchen. Larger cookies will need to bake a little longer. These cookies keep well in a covered container for a little less than a week — and if you're tempted to eat them for breakfast, so be it.

Copycat Pop-Tarts

Eating Pop-Tarts on the way to school is like the ultimate morning treat for some kids. But if you don't have any at home, or you'd prefer a breakfast treat with ingredients you can pronounce, homemade Pop-Tart copycats can fit the bill. Kids will be impressed that you can make them at home, and you'll have tons of options to customize the flavor and filling of your Pop-Tarts.

Use your food processor to make a quick pastry dough, or show kids how to break up the butter and mix the dough with a fork or pastry blender. Once the pastry dough has chilled, you can cut them into shapes together. A classic Pop-Tart look calls for rectangles, but you could experiment with shapes as long as they're large enough to hold the filling. The filling is easy — just use a pie filling of your choice. Top with colored icing and decorate your Pop-Tarts for a fun treat.

Frosted sugar cookies

Sugar cookies are a classic staple in any family kitchen. You might make them together around the holidays, but they're a blank canvas for kids to explore art through baking any time of year. 

These classic frosted sugar cookies take about 15 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to bake. You'll need to refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes, but you can use that time to blend together your cream cheese frosting and pick out your toppings. 

You can roll out and cut these cookies into shapes if you'd like, but decorating may be easier on kids if you just roll them into 1-inch balls and flatten then to about half an inch thick. That way, they'll bake into round cookies that have plenty of room for kids to add frosting and pile on the extras. 

These cookies are versatile and easy to decorate for the holidays or birthdays. You can change up the color of the frosting with food coloring and let kids choose any combination of sprinkles to add a new color for any occasion.

3-ingredient vanilla cake

There's no shame in using boxed cake mix to quickly make a cake for any occasion, but it's really easy to hack boxed cake mix and take it from good to great. One cake hack kids are likely to love: adding ice cream to the cake batter.

This 3-ingredient vanilla cake uses just cake mix, vanilla ice cream, and eggs. The best part: it takes just 5 minutes to prep, so kids can quickly help you mix up cake and enjoy it together less than an hour later.

This cake recipe is very versatile, so kids can get creative in the kitchen with you. You can top it with icing and sprinkles. Or you can try crumbled cookies, nuts, or even candy. You don't have to stick to white cake and vanilla ice cream, either. You could try a chocolate cake with strawberry ice cream, spice cake with butter pecan ice cream, or any other flavor combination your kids can dream up.

Cookie butter banana bread

Kids are notoriously fickle about food. One day they're crying because you won't let them eat a third banana for breakfast, and the next, you're inadvertently making banana wine on your kitchen counter because they suddenly have zero interest in eating anything yellow. But there's always something you can do with bananas past their prime — and you still might be able to get your kids to eat them, even if they're not in their original form.

Cookie butter banana bread uses up ripe bananas and combines them with cookie butter. The result: a sweet breakfast bread kids can help you make, and will probably ask for at breakfast time. You can serve it up warm with butter, or you can let it cool and top it with cream cheese, peanut butter, or jam. But your kids might prefer another spread: even more cookie butter on top.

Spooky ghost brownies

These Halloween brownies have an added twist: a spooky ghost on top of them! While these are fun for kids to make and enjoy around Halloween, they're tasty and fun to make any time of year. Kids love to decorate and assemble these spooky treats, especially if it means they can sample a few marshmallows along the way.

Spooky ghost brownies start with either homemade basic brownies, or brownies from a box mix if you're not up to it. You'll top them with marshmallows and an icing made with butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Have your kids slowly thin out the icing with warm water a tablespoon at a time until you've reached a slightly runny consistency. You want it to be thin enough that it will cover the marshmallow and brownie like the sheet of a ghost character, but thick enough that it won't completely run off. Kids can draw spooky ghost faces on the marshmallows with black gel frosting paint.