Cooking is as much an artform as a science – and kids can learn about both when they get in the kitchen with grandma, mom, dad or any supervising adult.

El Pasoan Christopher Puga, who created Culinary Camp Puga to teach youth to cook, says it’s never too early to get your kids’ hands dirty in the kitchen. Just remember to always start by everyone washing their hands.

“Not only is it fun and educational, but it can be a real bonding moment,” says Puga, adding that cooking is a life skill.

Aside from teaching critical thinking, mathematics and science, cooking can inspire creativity and encourage collaboration.

Puga says cooking activities should be age-appropriate: Toddlers can learn about rinsing produce, tearing leafy greens, breaking veggies into pieces or kneading dough. 

Older kids can crack eggs or mix, pour and whisk ingredients. Kids can work their way up to using can openers, mixers, blenders then cheese graters and knives – and eventually (between ages 10-12) the stove and oven.

And don’t forget kids should also set the table, throw trash, wipe counters and wash dishes.

A graduate of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado, Puga is a culinary arts teacher at Bowie High School. Through his YouTube channel and Facebook page, he teaches kids (and their parents) easy-to-follow kid-friendly recipes live at 6 p.m. Sundays.

El Paso Inc. asked Puga to share one of his easy recipes young cooks can make to pack in their lunches or as an afterschool snack. 

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