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"You can be really, extra, extra good at it" YMCA of Metro Denver is helping children get really extra, extra good at cooking

YMCA of Metro Denver offers cooking classes for kids
YMCA of Metro Denver offers cooking classes for kids 01:49

The YMCA of Metro Denver is offering Cooking for Kids classes at three of its locations. The classes run 8-weeks, and there are two levels: one class for kids from kindergarten to 2nd grade, and one for kids from 3rd to 5th grades.


"Tonight they are making a homemade granola recipe," said Jennifer Lease, Senior Manager of Nutrition with the Well Being Team at YMCA of Metro Denver.

Measuring and mixing are all part of the recipe at the class for 9, 10, and 11-year-olds. They'll learn basic cooking skills including baking, sauteing, and boiling water.

"We're going to practice our knife skills by chopping up some fruit," Lease explained.

During the class, they use kid-safe knives, but they also get a safety lesson on how to chop at home.

"I like to cut, because I really like the sounds," said Savannah, a 10-year-old taking the class.

The children work together and enjoy a safe space to try something new.

"It's really fun…making food," Savannah said.

"So that way I can get enjoyable experience out of cooking stuff," said 11-year-old Madalynne.

"It's really fun to experience new things that you might want to try," said 10-year-old Zoe.


The class is more than just building new skills, they're also experimenting with new vegetables, fruit, and fresh herbs and spices.

"We do bring in some basic nutrition concepts in these cooking classes, and really explore different tastes and flavors," Lease said.  

Once the granola is in the oven, the YMCA members take turns measuring out the ingredients for a smoothie.

"We like to create those opportunities too… where they're cooking and following a recipe and learning how to read a recipe and following those steps but then also giving them some opportunities for them to have fun with their food and take some ownership over what they're making," Lease told CBS News Colorado.

"That way you can be really, extra, extra good at it," Zoe explained.

Learning to cooking is a skill that will nourish these children's minds and bodies long into adulthood. And the granola smoothies were a tasty treat at the end of the hour.

LINK: YMCA's Cooking for Kids Classes

The Cooking for Kids classes are held at the Arvada, Aurora, and University Hills YMCA locations.

LINK: YMCA's Summer Culinary Camp

The Y also offers Summer Culinary Camps at the University Hills location (July and August)and at the Arvada location (June and August). The week-long camps are for ages 10-14.

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