Do you ever feel like letting your child “help” in the kitchen will just slow you down? This is one of the main reasons parent do not involve their children in meal preparation. We can simply be more efficient in the kitchen when the kids are watching television or playing happily. Young children are often eager to lend a hand in the kitchen and it can be a great learning opportunity for them. Cooking helps teach children new vocabulary, math, science, planning, problem solving and decision making skills.
Young children are often eager to lend a hand in the kitchen and it can be a great learning opportunity for them. Cooking helps teach children new vocabulary, math, science, planning, problem solving and decision making skills.
Once you know what to cook for dinner, involve your kids! Young children like to explore with their senses and cooking is a low-pressure way for your child to explore new foods. They will likely be interested in touching and tasting the ingredients while you are cooking. They also like to do things independently so make sure you have some simple jobs ready for them to do on their own.
They will likely be interested in touching and tasting the ingredients while you are cooking.
Here are some ideas of how to involve a young child in the kitchen. Just remember that every child is different, so it is important to assess the skills of each individual child and assign kitchen tasks that they can do safely.
• Wash fruits and vegetables in the sink
• Help find ingredients in the fridge or cupboard
• Put paper cups into muffin tins
• Add pre-measured ingredients
• Mix ingredients together in a bowl
• Tear lettuce or other leafy greens
• Place scraps in the compost
• Wipe table tops
As your child grows and develops, they will be able to do more and more in the kitchen, including some of these tasks:
• Pour liquids from a measuring cup
• Count foods
• Mash soft foods
• Spread soft spreadables
• Remove shells from hard-boiled eggs
• Squeeze citrus fruits
• Measure dry and liquid ingredients
• Assemble foods with ingredients you have prepared
• Slice soft foods with a plastic or basic table knife
• Form round ball shapes with their hands
• Roll dough with a rolling pin
• Peel vegetables and remove skins from onions and garlic
• Crack eggs and beat with a whisk
• Cut herbs with safety scissors
• Peel fruits such as oranges and bananas
Cooking with kids takes time and a great deal of patience, but if helping you in the kitchen is a positive experience for them, before you know it they will be planning what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for you!