Cooking in School (5-7 Years)

There are a number of basic food skills which enable a variety of dishes to be made.


Activity 1 - There is a range of basic cooking skills.

Explain to the children that we need certain skills to be able to make snacks and meals.  Ask them to recall some of the skills they used last session when making their playtime snacks. For example:

  • washing;
  • peeling;
  • juicing;
  • grating;
  • cutting (with scissors).

You could make a list of these or display the appropriate Actions cards.

Ask the children to think of other food skills which might be needed for cooking.  What have they seen others do when cooking?

Show some or all of the following videos:

  • Coleslaw;
  • Cous Cous Salad;
  • Fruit Salad;
  • Sandwiches;
  • Smoothie.

As you show each video, ask the children to identify two or three key skills needed for each recipe and keep a list, which can be seen by the whole class, of these skills under the heading of each recipe. 

The children should decide on two of the recipe videos they have seen and, using the, Cooking skills worksheet, illustrate two or three key skills needed in those recipes.


Activity 2 - Basic cooking skills are required to make a dish.

In advance of the lesson, decide on one or two non-heat cooking activities that will require children to use a knife, e.g. sandwiches, fruit salad, dip.

Organise the classroom, equipment and ingredients to allow a cooking session to take place.  Plan how you will work with the children, e.g. half a class at a time. See the Setting up a cooking session guide.

Explain to the children what they will be making.  Talk through the hygiene rules for cooking.  Use the Hygiene and safety checklist in the Setting up a cooking session guide for reference and display the Let’s get ready to cook poster for the children to see. 

Talk through the recipe and demonstrate what the children will have to do.

Be clear and precise when demonstrating how to use the knife in a safe and appropriate way.  See Skills guide. Demonstrate:

  • bridge hold;
  • claw grip;
  • fork secure.  

Use the Bridge Hold video and Claw Grip video to reinforce good practice.

Ensure children understand that when they finish cutting they must put the knife down.  They should not hold it while they do other things or move around the room.  This rule also applies to other sharp or pointed equipment. 

Allow the children to carry out their cooking activity, you can use the How do you make soda bread worksheet, Make a potato salad worksheet or the How to make a sandwich lesson plan as examples of what can be made. 

Gather the children to look at what they have made. Question them:

  • Did you enjoy making this?
  • Would you make it again?
  • Would you do anything differently?
  • What equipment did you use?
  • How did you use it safely?
  • What can you do now that you had not done before?

Allow the children to taste what they have made. Remember to instruct the children on how to do this hygienically.  See Tasting guide.


Further activities

  • Ask different children to come to the front of the class and mime a food skill, e.g. grating cheese, washing grapes.  See if other children can guess what they are doing. For each skill guessed, ask if anyone can name another food this skill could be used with.
  • Get the children to talk about the rules for tasting, being hygienic while cooking and using a knife safely. 
  • Use other non-heat recipes which allow children to explore different food skills. To help create time for more food work, link it into other curriculum subjects. 
  • Use the Make a super sandwich worksheet, Cooking potatoes worksheet and the How potatoes change when they are cooked worksheet to allow children to explore what happens when food is cooked.
5 - 7 YR
Cooking skills worksheet

A worksheet to record different cooking skills used in recipes.

Setting up a cooking session

A guide to support setting up a cooking session.

Let's get ready to cook!

A poster about getting ready to cook.

Food skills guide

A guide highlighting key food skills that can be taught.

5 - 7 YR
Let's get ready to cook worksheet

A worksheet consolidating learning about the get ready to cook steps.

Tasting guide

A guide to support running a food tasting session.

Ingredient check letter

A template letter to send home about pupils handling and/or eating different ingredients.

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