Kids love to cook! After all, it’s a great chance to make a mess, and (hopefully) end up with some delicious treats when it’s all said and done.

It’s also a great way for parents and kids to spend some time together. And – don’t tell them – but it’s also a chance to sneak some learning in there, too!

For younger kids, cookie dough holds infinite possibilities. Mold it into different shapes, and challenge the kids to do the same. Get cookie cutters in alphabet/number shapes. After the cookies are done you can spell out words with the cookies or practice counting. Get some food coloring and color the dough or some frosting to help them learn their colors.

For older kids, cooking is a great chance to teach them about money and planning. Let them pick a few dishes out of a recipe book for kids, and help them put together a shopping list. Give them $20 and let them see how far it goes (or doesn’t go!) at the grocery store when it comes to purchasing the ingredients.

When you’re back in the kitchen, making the recipes is a great chance to teach kids about how to measure out ingredients and how to follow instructions.

Of course, kids should always be supervised when in the kitchen, and they should never be allowed to handle sharp knives or hot dishes.

Who knows? Your cooking lessons may not only teach them some important things, but they may inspire a lifelong love of cooking. You may have the next Michelin-rated chef standing right there next to you, covered in flour and sneaking chocolate chips when you aren’t looking!