Information about I Can Cook
3-6 year olds
A cookery programme for under-sixes, I Can Cook is filmed in a bespoke kitchen and aims to get
young children excited about food. It’s presented by drama graduate Katy Ashworth, and each
15-minute episode follows five youngsters as they learn to cook a fun and tasty dish. Katy teaches them
how to prepare their workstations, wash their hands and what to do with all the ingredients. They
have a lot of fun along the way, singing, playing games and finding out more about food and
where it comes from. It’s an upbeat, energetic show that is sure to encourage children to want to
- Katy – Presenter and fictional chef, Katy never stops smiling and loves to sing. She keeps an
orderly kitchen but also enjoys getting messy while she’s cooking!
I Can Cook helps children to:
- Get excited about cooking and trying new foods.
- Understand more about health and hygiene – such as washing hands, and keeping different
- Listen to instructions and carry out simple tasks.
- Understand where food comes from.
- Appreciate healthy eating and learn how to create healthy dishes.
- Learn about food preparation techniques (chopping, peeling, boiling).
- Develop hand-eye co-ordination by following recipes at home.
Website benefits and summary
Choose from five different recipes online. They are well paced so you can follow them at home to make the real thing, or you can just have fun joining in online, squeezing a virtual lemon, weighing out virtual ingredients and giving everything a good stir. There’s definitely less mess when you spill the ingredients online! Whether you make a dish at home or one online, either way your child is learning some good life skills about cooking for themselves, honing their fine motor skills and extending their numeracy skills.
Preparation for cooking at home
Here are some tips to help you make your child’s first experience of cooking as enjoyable as possible.
Work surface and area
It's best if the work surface is at the height of the child to allow the child to stand to cook. The child should not be balanced on a chair to reach a counter. Perhaps use a picnic table or a child-sized table. Involve your child in getting the work area set up and keeping it clean throughout, so your child can learn good habits from the start.
Where a mixing bowl is needed, choose one with a 1 or 1.5 litre capacity. This is big enough to allow children to get their hands into the mixtures when needed and is plenty big enough for the small quantities they make.
Always wear an apron to cook. This keeps clothes clean and also stops things that may be on clothes, like pet hairs, going into the cooking.
To help stop the recipes sticking to the tray in the oven, Katy uses siliconised baking paper and sometimes oil. Greasing the baking paper or container to prevent the mixture from sticking can generally be done using vegetable oil or olive oil. However, sometimes olive oil is specified because it adds flavour too.
In Katy's kitchen, she uses a multi-purpose grater which has a suction facility to stick it to the table. You can also use other types of grater but be very careful of little fingers.
You will need to use scissors to cut up ingredients such as cooked bacon and spring onions. Choose standard metal-bladed nursery scissors and keep them only for food use in the kitchen.
Always use oven gloves and remind your child that you are in charge of using the oven and all sharp tools.
The ‘two spoon method’ is used in some of the recipes - this means taking two teaspoons, one of which you fill with the ingredient or mixture, the other one is used to push the ingredient or mixture off. This can be a coordination challenge for your child the first time, but with practice becomes much easier.
Oven temperatures are given for fan ovens, static electric ovens and a gas setting. Cooking times may vary depending on your oven and the material the container you are cooking on or in is made of. For example, a metal casserole will heat up quicker than a ceramic one, which potentially reduces the cooking time.
Where possible use fresh ingredients when in season, washing and rinsing them before use. If you are unable to find the fresh ingredients, tinned products can be used in their place.
Where eggs are specified they are always medium sized.
Only the bread recipe uses added salt. This is necessary for the yeast to work. Otherwise, all the recipes have been developed without added salt.
All the recipes have included how many portions they make and serving suggestions. The recommended portion size is suitable for most children up to six.