Budding chefs may not have mastered the rules of the kitchen, but even they know that practice makes perfect. If they’re not quite ready for sous chef 101, we’ve found the next best option—kid-friendly restaurants where your mini- Julia Child can make, decorate or prep part (or all) of her meal. Perhaps this means that she’ll actually eat all of her food? One can dream.


Treat Junior to playtime at the Playseum where—in addition to dress up, story time, and crafts—he can take a kids-only cooking class. For a few extra Playseum dollars (in addition to your ticket) kids can bake cookies, make smoothies or decorate cupcakes in the “Come Bake with Me” City Shop in Bethesda and even make homemade pasta in the “Come Cook with Me” D.C. City Shop. During certain seasons they can also bake an apple pie, or create their own sorbet in the D.C. shop.

7000 Wisconsin Ave. (Bethesda, Md)

545 8th St., SE (Capitol Hill)

Online: playseum.com


Urbana Restaurant
Pizza night? Head to Urbana, where kids get to build their own pizza (tableside!) and someone else cleans up the telltale mozzarella mess and cooks the pizza. Big and little kids will love choosing their own toppings—veggies, meat, cheese, sauce…the works! The only downside is that they don’t have make-your-own-pizzas for grown-ups. But, Urbana keeps kids happy, engaged and your kitchen stays sparkling clean. No flour bombs here.  

2121 P St., NW (Dupont Circle)
Online: urbanadc.com


Newton’s Noodles
If your kids are obsessed with noodles then hightail it to Newton’s Noodles where little ones can be super-picky about what goes on their plates. Diners choose from either rice or gluten free noodles then add proteins, veggies, toppings, sauces and spice levels to create their own unique dish. This means that little miss “I won’t eat anything red and crunchy” can pick all her favorites to eat in one dish. With locally sourced ingredients and the pace of a fast-food joint, you can rest assured that your little lady won’t have a meltdown at the register.

1129 20th St., NW (Farragut North)
Online: newtonsnoodles.com

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Generous George’s
Dress up aficionados will love Generous George’s “make your own pizza” because it comes complete with its own chef hat. Kiddos get to make an eight-inch personal pizza with two toppings; the chefs will bake it and serve it. The perfect recipe for a family night out and they get a souvenir to take home. We call that a win win!

2321-C Dulles Station Blvd. (Herndon, Va)
Online: generousgeorges.com


Once the kids are seated at this popular restaurant, they’ll be shocked to find dessert delivered before dinner. Firefly offers kids a “decorate your own cookie” activity to keep them occupied and give them an incentive to eat their dinner. Sprinkles, chocolate chips, icing; it’s all there for the pickings. Once the masterpiece is finished, it’s whisked away to be baked and ready to be devoured once Junior has eaten his fill of the main meal.

1310 New Hampshire Ave., NW (Dupont Circle)
online: firefly-dc.com

Have you tried any of these restaurant’s DIY dishes? Tell us about it in the comments section below. 

—Hilary Riedemann

Photos courtesy of Firefly, Generous George’s, Playseum, Newton’s Noodle, and Urbana (all via Facebook)