Palm Coast - Children and teens alike can enjoy new cooking classes this spring - offering a chance to gain skills in the kitchen while also learning about nutrition and food safety.

New this year, Palm Coast Parks & Recreation has added Kids in the Kitchen for Homeschoolers and Cooking Matters for Chefs and Kids to the lineup. Both programs are instructed by Margaret Cruz, Program Assistant for the University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program. Also continuing are the Cooking is Fun and Cooking is Science programs. All are held at the Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Pkwy. NE.

Registration is required, even for the free programs, at www.parksandrec.fun (select "Youth" or "Teen" depending on age level). Class size is limited, so register early!

Kids in the Kitchen for Homeschoolers - Wednesdays, Jan. 9-Feb. 13: This free program is a hands-on cooking experience that teaches youth basic cooking skills, nutrition and food safety. Older children will also learn about meal planning and preparing a complete meal based on USDA's My Plate. Classes will be offered Wednesdays, Jan. 9-Feb. 13, by age level:

·         10-10:45 a.m. (6-9 years)

·         11-11:45 a.m. (10-12 years)

·         noon-12:45 p.m. (13-15 years)

Cooking Matters for Chefs and Kids - Wednesdays, May 1-15: This free program will have an activity, a recipe, and focus on four key messages: eating a variety of food groups, eating more fruits and veggies, drinking less sugary beverages and eating more whole grains. Classes will be offered Wednesdays, May 1-15, by grade level:

·         11:15-11:45 a.m. (K-3rd)

·         noon-12:30 p.m. (4th-12th)

Cooking is Science - Teens ages 12-15 will use empirical observation techniques to learn how variables affect the final product. Due to the risk of cross-contamination, participation by those with food allergies is not advised. The cost is $35 per session.

·         Session 1: Mondays, March 18-April 8 from 3-4:15 p.m.

·         Session 2: Tuesdays, April 16-May 7 from 3-4:15 p.m.

Cooking is Fun - In this program, children ages 8-11 will be exposed to cooking vocabulary, techniques, tools, utensils, safety in the kitchen and math while preparing dishes from scratch! Due to the risk of cross-contamination, participation by those with food allergies is not advised. The cost is $35 per session.

·         Session 1: Jan. 28-31 from 4:15-5:30 p.m.

·         Session 2: Thursdays, Feb. 7-28 from 4:15-5:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Parks & Rec at 386-986-2323.