For kids, the home kitchen is so much more than a kitchen: It’s a classroom, a science lab, a playground, a chance for them to learn cooking and life lessons that they’ll take with them as they grow. It can be hard to find quality time to spend with kids in the kitchen while juggling a busy schedule, but KiwiCo’s Yummy Crate is an easy solution. It’s a fun and educational monthly subscription box that teaches kids how to cook simple but delicious meals with the help of a parent or guardian. Each Yummy Crate comes with recipes, appliances, and supplemental materials to help them learn about the science behind cooking. (It doesn’t include ingredients, so you’ll need to pick those up before getting started.)
We wanted to test it out, so we sent two Yummy Crates to Lolita Morrow, Vox Media’s Head of Industry, Media & Entertainment, and her 12-year-old son, Christopher Jackson. Morrow says she and CJ often cook together on weekends when they have more time, trying out recipes like pancakes and omelets, and he also enjoys watching competitive cooking shows. Read on to hear about Morrow’s experience with the Yummy Crate (and CJ’s opinion, too!).
Morrow received two Yummy Crates: the Rainbow Produce box and the Hamburgers box. She and CJ selected one recipe from each box to make. First up: the rainbow smoothie, from the Rainbow Produce box.
First impressions of the Rainbow Produce box:
“In each box there were three different recipe options and a packet that gave you instructions on how to make each meal. There was also a menu template with markers where the kids could draw their own menu. It included the cover and what the ingredients were, and you could create a creative name for it — he decided [the name of his restaurant] was ‘Chris’s Delicious Meals.’
[The Rainbow Produce box also] had a spray bottle where you could spray and wash the produce, and it had a rubber colander to drain with as well. So the crate also had fun things that he could use that are sized for his hands, versus a large colander. I thought that was cool.”
Making the rainbow smoothie:
“Most of the ingredients we already had at home, but we did substitute strawberries for raspberries because he preferred strawberries. As the parent, I first separated all of the contents of the box to the side and said, ‘Let’s look at the [recipe] first.’ It was very clear to understand on the front page; I said, ‘We’re only going to make two servings tonight, one for you and one for me.’ So he had to do the math and cut all of the ingredients in half. For each layer of the smoothie, it called for one banana. And since it was two, he was like, ‘Well, that’s half a banana.’
So as we did each layer, I let him add the ingredients into the blender. I did have to help him with getting each layer into the cup because of the instructions specifically said to try not to get any on the sides, which will allow for the visual of the rainbow. So I helped him get it in as we tilted the cup sideways to put it in sideways and cleaned it up. And then we put that in the freezer while we made the next layer. So he would put all the ingredients in and start the blender, I would fill that in the cup, and then he would rinse out the blender. We did that for all four steps.”
“At the end, we got the straws and he wanted to have a nice presentation. So we used the KiwiCo box and we held up the menu next to it and he took a picture with his smoothies and it came out really well. He had one last night, and he said it was really delicious — so that’s a thumbs up for him! He really enjoys smoothies. It was really tasty, and it was all clean ingredients.”
Morrow and CJ then tried out the side dish from the Hamburgers crate: the punnily-named “smashed potatoes.”
First impressions of the Hamburgers box:
“Along with the recipes, the burger crate had a plastic meat press that could be used to shape patties or smash the potatoes. There was also a lot of supplemental kitchen knowledge, like fun facts, which we looked through while we cooked because he loves factoids and stuff like that. So it had a lot of layers outside of just, ‘Here’s a kit for you to cook with.’”
Making the smashed potatoes:
“I chose the smashed potatoes because it was a little bit more hands-on and kids sometimes like to smash things, so I thought that would be a fun project for him. First, he rinsed the potatoes and I helped him fill up a large pot with water. We turned that on and we set the timer. We added the potatoes in, and we used that time while the potatoes were boiling to read some of the fun facts that were included in the box. Once the timer went off, I helped him strain the potatoes into the colander because it was really hot water.
After it cooled, he was able to place those on the baking sheet with the parchment paper and begin to smash each potato. But before he did, I said, ‘Remember, they only want you to smash it so that it’s a half-inch thick, so not completely decimated.’ After doing that, we created the brush sauce, which was with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl. He really enjoyed brushing that on, and I explained that it was going to help with the browning process and give it a little flavor. He turned on the oven and the timer, put it in the oven himself, and he kept running back checking. Once it was done we took it out of the oven.”
“Everyone in the family had [the smashed potatoes] as sides for dinner that night. So he was excited, because this was the first meal that he’s made that everyone in the family ate together. So, that was really good because it gave him a sense of accomplishment.”
“At that age, I think it’s really important for kids to have a sense of ownership and a lot of processes as they get older; just feeling accomplished that you did something, [plus] knowing safety rules in the kitchen and not to dance around. Patience is also always something that kids that age can benefit from learning more of. And I think he learned in the kitchen that there are certain things that can’t be rushed. Things take time, and there’s a reason for that time: If it says 450 degrees, it’s 450 for a reason. I think those skills are transferable into other parts of his life as he gets older.
I was surprised that I enjoyed it as well. It was fun for me because most times when you’re with your kid in the kitchen you’re telling them what to do, but this is something we did together. We spent time together and I know that he really values that because I’m busy with work and everything else. So it was a plus for me to spend time with him and watch him create something and see how happy he was when it was completed.”
Find more information or try the Yummy Crate for yourself here.
*Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Not into cooking? Not a problem! KiwiCo offers hands-on STEAM projects for children of every age and interest, from babies and toddlers to teenagers. Have crates delivered monthly for ongoing creativity and fun, or shop individual projects from categories like gifts under $20, chemistry, pretend play, music, and more.