Grilling with Kids

Summer is in full swing, so there is no better time to bring friends and family together for some yummy grilled food that everyone can help prepare and enjoy.

July is the national month for grilling, and it is also anti-boredom month. One way to combat boredom for kids is to include them in tasks that will keep them busy, like helping prep and cook meals. Grilling is a cooking method that many kids may not have the opportunity to try, but with some supervision, it can be a fun way to keep busy.

These are some ways that kids can help with the grilling process:

  • Rinse produce
  • Peel produce
  • Assemble skewers
  • Mix meat together
  • Flip patties or other meat with a spatula or tongs
  • Help plan meals for the week. Allow them to choose meals that they are both excited to try and excited to help make.

Allowing kids to help prepare meals at home, including grilling, can increase their confidence in themselves and in the kitchen. It is also a great way to teach them about food safety, proper hygiene, and it gives them the opportunity to try new foods. On top of all that, it can be a great way to spend quality time with the family.

Resource: Cooking with Children, Illinois Extension

Grilling Recipes Kids Will Love

Hamburger Sliders

These sliders are easily customizable, even for the pickiest of eaters.

Course: Dinner

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Total Time: 35 min

Servings: 4-5


  • Burgers:
    • 2 lbs lean ground beef
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
    • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 12 small hamburger buns or rolls
  • Toppings (optional):
    • 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese
    • 1 head Lettuce, thoroughly rinsed and chopped
    • 2-3 Tomatoes, rinsed and sliced
    • 1-2 Red onions, rinsed and sliced
    • Pickles
    • Ketchup
    • Mustard


  1. Wash hands before preparing food.
  2. Rinse all produce thoroughly before prepping and set aside.
  3. Pre-heat a grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Place ground beef in a large bowl. Add mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Combine all ingredients. Shape the meat into 12 patties. Wash hands after handling raw meat.
  5. When the grill is preheated, brush the grill grate with oil. Place sliders on grill and cook for 6 minutes. Flip sliders over with a spatula and cook until you reach an internal temperature of 160°F, about 7 minutes more.
  6. Top patties with shredded cheese (optional) and close the grill lid for 1 minute or until the cheese has melted. Remove the patties and place on a platter. Cover patties with foil.
  7. Toast buns with the cut side down on the grill.
  8. Add the patty and your favorite toppings to the buns. Enjoy!


Don’t have a grill? Heat a pan to medium-high heat and follow remaining instructions to cook the patties.

Recipe adapted from:

Grilled Vegetables

Best when fresh, in-season vegetables are used.

Course: Side/Dinner

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Total Time: 40 min

Servings: 6


  • 3 red bell peppers, rinsed and seeded
  • 3 yellow squash, rinsed
  • 3 zucchini, rinsed sliced
  • 3 small eggplants, rinsed sliced
  • 12 mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and ends trimmed
  • 12 green onions, rinsed and roots trimmed
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley leaves, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil leaves, rinsed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, rinsed and finely chopped


  1. Wash hands before preparing any food.
  2. Wash all produce thoroughly before prepping.
  3. Cut red bell pepper in half. Slice yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant lengthwise. Prepare other vegetables as described.
  4. Pre-heat a grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Toss vegetables with 1/4 cup of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss again to combine.
  6. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over. This is about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms; and 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Transfer vegetables to a platter when done.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the over the cooked vegetables. Enjoy!


Play around with different vegetables, herbs, and spices. Use what is in season or use what you have on hand.

Recipe adapted from:

Grilled Fruit Skewers

Grilling fruit caramelizes the natural sugars in them, making them a healthy sweet treat.

Course: Snack/Dessert

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Total Time: 20 min

Servings: 6


  • 1 cup pineapple, rinsed and cut into large chunks
  • 1 Banana, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup cantaloupe, rinsed, scrubbed, and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup strawberries, rinsed and stems removed
  • 1 cup peaches, rinsed, pitted, and cut into thick slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Vanilla yogurt for dipping (optional)


  1. Wash hands before handling any food.
  2. Wash all produce thoroughly before prepping.
  3. Soak the wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes to prevent them from burning while grilling.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  5. To make the fruit skewers, thread two pieces of each fruit chunk through skewer. Repeat process until all the fruit is used.
  6. Lightly cover fruit skewers in cooking spray. Drizzle with honey.
  7. Add fruit skewers to grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes until the fruit is lightly charred all over. Remove and place on a platter.
  8. Dip fruit in yogurt, if desired. Enjoy!


Try this recipe with any of your favorite fruits.

Best served immediately.

Recipe adapted from:

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