One of the ways to get kids excited about food is to make cooking an enjoyable activity for them. If kids in the kitchen are excited to help out, they will in time be excited about trying a wide variety of foods. Cooking with your kids is a great way to help them build healthy eating habits.
As kids master cooking skills, they can help you with small appliances, and right at the stove. Whether it’s using the mixer to make cookie dough, or baking a snack in the toaster oven, cooking with kids helps them develop important life skills.
You can show your kids how to help you prepare meals. Always start by having kids wash there hands before and after after helping in the kitchen. Be sure to patient with spills and mistakes.
Kids in the kitchen
Here are a list of kid friendly kitchen tasks. Keep in mind that kids develop at different rates. The age ranges below are guidelines as your child may be ready to do a certain task earlier or later than suggested below.
Cooking with babies
Babies (0-24 months) just want to be with you. Bring them into the kitchen while you cook – a highchair, bouncer or playpen. As they get older, give them a few cooking tools they can bang around. Wooden spoons, spatulas, non-breakable mixing bowls, and measuring cups and spoons are great choices. Talk to them about what you are doing, they might just mimic you. Let them see, smell, and when appropriate TASTE what you are making.
Cooking with toddlers
Young children (ages 2-4) are able to take simple directions. The are just starting to develop fine motor skills and control of their hands and fingers. Choose kitchen tasks for toddlers that they can take pride in and have fun too.
Set the timer.
Peel the skin off a banana.
Wipe down countertops and tables.
Rinse fruits and vegetables and gently dry them.
Tear lettuce and other salad greens into bite size pieces.
Remove parsley and cilantro leaves from their stems.
Sprinkle toppings on salads, pizzas and casseroles.
Layer ingredients on sandwiches.
Cooking with kids
Older kids (ages 5-9) have stronger arms and hands. They can do simple kitchen math and are a whiz at counting.
Older kids can:
Measure ingredients (both dry and liquid).
Scoop batter into muffin cups.
Cut soft fruits with plastic knives.
Snip herbs with safety scissors.
Juice lemons, limes and oranges.
Stir, whisk and sift ingredients together.
Thread food onto skewers.
Spread peanut butter on bread and icing on cupcakes and cookies.
Set the table.
Cooking with preteens
Preteens (10-12) can read most recipes without help. They are able to complete most simple preparation tasks without adult assistance.
Crack eggs. Skilled preteens can even separate eggs!
Grease baking sheets and pans.
Open cans with a can opener.
Slice soft cheeses, mushrooms, zucchini etc.
Peel cucumbers, carrots and other vegetables a vegetable peeler.
Use a box grater to shred cheese and vegetables.