In this article we are diving into some of the most epic Cooking Camps for Kids across the U.S.
- Intro. + Benefits of Kids Cooking
- The Best Kids Cooking Camps by Region
- East Coast Cooking Camps
- West Coast Cooking Camps
Let’s Dig In!
Intro + Benefits of Children in the Kitchen
I believe there aren’t enough life skills taught to kids at an early age. One of those life skills that I know I missed when I was younger was cooking! My mom (like most parents) cooked all the meals for me up until I was about 16 years old. Of course this is great (because she is a phenomenal cook), but it would have been awesome to learn more cooking skills when I was younger.
There are actual studies done on what cooking with children can do for early childhood development. Overall, cooking at a young age can help develop confidence and a sense of independence. It can physically help to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It’s also a no-brainer that it gets kids thinking! Following recipes can involve math skills, problem solving, and also creativity!
Cooking Camps for Kids
So after thinking about all this (with inspiration from my younger cousin who loves baking more than anything in this world), I wondered if there were cooking programs for kids outside their home. Maybe like a get away camp, that involves cooking, or day camp to learn about nutrition. Sure enough – it does exist! In fact there are many kids cooking camps across the U.S. I found a few stand out programs that I thought I would share with you! Take a look!
The Best Kids Cooking Camps by Region
Maryland, Virgina, Washington, DC
Tiny Chef’s Summer Camp has a great reputation. They offer week-long summer camps, which have a unique theme every week. Each week they will focus on a new skill set, along with the theme. The class is created for ages 3 to 10, but also has options throughout the lesson to make it a little easier, or a little tougher for more experienced tiny chefs.
Here are some of our favorite themes they offer (plus a ton more on their site):
- Cupcake Wars! Learn the basics for making awesome cupcakes, along with special techniques for decorating. Also at the end of this week, there will be a cupcake competition! So rad!
- Cooking Around the World! Learn about different foods around the world, and how to prepare them. Some offered are Italian, Viatnemese, Indian, Mexican, and French foods! I personally would like to join the tiny chefs for this lesson!
- Restaurant Creation! For those kiddos who have the dream to own their own restaurant one day – this is for them! Each day they will create a course for their own menu. At the end of the week, they will put together a full menu for their own restaurant idea! Talk about making dreams come true!
- Let’s Make Every Day a Holiday! Kids will learn all kinds of side dishes and meals that make up your favorite holiday rituals. Now the kids can help at Thanksgiving and be part of the holiday routines!
- Dips and Donuts (UM..yum)! Learn how to prepare the best dips like salsa, hummus, and spinach artichoke dip. Along with the dipping of donuts into sugary glazes. The kids will absolutely love this class.
- Chopped! Yep you know what we are referring to. The ever so famous reality show is now offered for your kids. Each day the kids will be given 3-4 ingredients and have to come up with a mouth watering dish based on different cuisines.
The Farm Cooking School is a unique space that I think fits well with folks who like to make sure their children spend time outdoors in nature.
take a look below of some of the awesome features of this camp:
- Basic Kitchen Skills: Learn the basics of safety and how to handle food preparation in a kitchen.
- Farm Touring: Tour the farm and meet all the amazing animals, how they are taken care of, and what food comes from them.
- Foraging: Your kids will actually forage through the woods and learn what they can and cannot eat. This is so awesome!
- Plant Identification: The kiddos will learn how to identify different plants that we can use in the kitchen, along with the nutritional facts about them.
- Specialized Techniques: There will be special introductions into learning how to grill meals, making ice cream, and preserving and pickling techniques.
- Other Activities: The camp will also include mystery box challenges, scavenger hunts on the farm, and other awesome activities!
West Coast (and beyond)
California, Indiana, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia
Camp MasterChef not only is all across the U.S. but also seems to really have a solid program. They pride themselves on exquisite accommodations and unique culinary experiences. Their rates vary by location, but they also offer scholarship opportunities as well as discounts for active military and first responder families (we love this!).
Here are some of our favorite activities they offer (plus so much more on their site):
- Culinary Program: Learn about different cuisine from the Americas
- Culinary Program 1 – Learn to prepare New England, Mexican, New Orleans, and Peruvian meals.
- Culinary Program 2 – Learn to prepare Carribean, Southern, Brazilian, and California/Pacific Northwest cuisines.
- Master Class – Optional add-on classes that include even more cooking of your own meals, like rolling sushi, making pizza dough from scratch, or other specialized skills you don’t normally learn in any ordinary class.
- Team Competitions: Each day there are team competitions, where you can earn points that will total out at the end of your camp week. Some of these competitions include, preparing a dish with a mystery ingredient, leftover ingredients challenge, and tons others!
- Exercise, Health, & Fun: Not only will the kids learn about cooking, but they will stay active because CampChef very much values active lifestyles. There are opportunities to swim along with other sporting activities. There also is time set aside for creativity like painting and drawing. And last but not least, every night there is a fun themed party put on by the counselors!
Chicago, IL (+Virtual)
The Kid’s Table is one of the few camps that I saw also offering virtual camps currently (a great option for those who must stay home) . For ages 4-14, there is surely some room for a lot of fun. They also break up groups into day sessions (by age), full week sessions (by age), and then also virtual camps.
Here is a general breakdown of what they have to offer at The Kid’s Table:
- Partial Day Camps (Ages 4-7): A 2 hour session, where young kiddos get to prepare meals (chop, grate, roll), and then eat everything they prepared! A great option for a day filler activity.
- Full Day Camps (Ages 4-10): Half the day will be spent cooking, but the other half will be spent doing other activities like crafts, sports, games, and movies! This is a great option that has a little more of a balanced activity list.
- Full Day Foodie Adventure Camps (Ages 7-10): Just the name alone sounds fun to us! The kids will experience hands-on cooking of a 3-course meal! This camp also involves learning about the culture of food in Chicago, which I think is amazing!
- Full Day Foodie Adventure Camp (Ages 11-14): This program is just as you would expect, and involves a more advanced, more independent structure. The teens will break up into groups, learn more complex techniques, and learn even more from their culinary program.
New Orleans, LA
Kids in the Kitchen offers a wide range of camp programs. They do have short classes every few weeks which can be a fun option to fill a day out of your month. But they also offer a week long, half-day camp. This week long camp teaches techniques for food preparation, nutrition, and of course eating delicious food!
Read below about the bi-monthly classes, along with the week long camps:
- Little Cooks (Ages 5-6): This is the learning development class for the youngest group. Here the kids will learn about language, safety, and basic skills in the kitchen. It also allows for parent/child bonding, as the parents do stay with their kids during this class.
- Young Chefs (Ages 7-11): This bi-monthly hour and a half class is a very hand-on course, which allows for a higher level of training. It’ll teach your kid how to make everything from scratch, from start to finish.
- Master Class (Ages 11-14): Like the name, this master class is for a much more advanced little chef! The curriculum is more advanced, with harder techniques. The classes are also much smaller, so there is some solid one on one time.
- Culinary Camp: This annual camp has a very small class size (so reserve your spot right away)! This camp teaches your child nutritional literacy through many forms. They’ll learn how to food prep, fun food games, food history, and nutritional activities. There also will always be an overall themed week of cooking!
So, what’s cookin’?
As you can see above, there are so many different kinds of culinary programs that offer a wide range of education. Some get your children outside foraging the woods, while others have them in the kitchen learning about Peruvian cuisine. Regardless, we know there is the perfect program out there for your child!
Are you looking for a specific location for a culinary camp for kids? Is it not on our list? Let us know! We would be happy to help you find the best camp for your kiddos in a town near you!
Make sure you tag your photos with #campclimbcook or tag us on Instagram @campclimbcook with all your epic camp cook setups! We love to see it all!
Questions, comments, feedback–we LOVE IT ALL!! Please feel free to drop us a line in the comments below.
If you enjoyed our cooking camp for kiddos article please consider sharing on social 🙂