Do your kids like to cook? We think it’s important to get our kids more active in the kitchen and to experience and enjoy the art of cooking. After all, cooking is a basic life skill! Our kids should be comfortable enough in the kitchen to pull a few ingredients together to create a simple, yet healthy and nourishing, meal. Cooking is a great way to talk to our kids about health and healthy ingredients, and it even brings us closer together. So what do you say? Let’s start cooking with our kids! We created a list of some of the ways kids can help out in the kitchen, with suggested tasks for each age group. Of course, all kids develop at different rates with variances in maturity and dexterity, so it’s up to you to determine when you think your child is ready for a particular task. Get ready to train up your little sous chef!

 

0-18 months

The best way to involve your tiny ones is to let them observe you cooking! Let them play around with big and non-sharp cooking tools, such as wooden spoons, whisks, spatulas, and measuring cups. Talk to them about what you’re doing and let them smell and touch some of the ingredients. You want to introduce your kids early on that cooking is a fun and valuable craft!

 

2-3 years

Toddlers always love helping you out, especially when the end product is something they can eat! Just remember that this age group needs very close adult supervision. Below is a list of some simple tasks to get your kids helping out in the kitchen:

Squeezing lemons or limes

Picking herbs off the stem

Tearing up lettuce

Sprinkling salt or herbs/spices

Stirring batter in a bowl

Stirring/mashing ingredients together

Rinsing produce in sink

Putting some dishes, such as silverware, in dishwasher

 

4-5 years

In this preschooler age range, there is a lot of variability in motor skills and independence. As such, some kids may be ready for more detailed work in the kitchen, but still with close adult supervision. Here is list that your growing little chefs may be able to do:

Cutting soft foods with a knife

Cracking an egg

Measuring dry ingredients

Grating, peeling and chopping veggies

Whisking a vinaigrette

Rinsing some dishes that aren’t too heavy

Cleaning and setting the table

 

6-9 years

At this age, kids should know some cooking prep basics. Depending on their maturity and overall focus in the kitchen, they can be ready for more complicated tasks, including trying out some kitchen equipment. Below is a list of some tasks many elementary-aged kids can try:

Dicing veggies

Grating cheese

Peeling potatoes, mangoes and other fruits and vegetables

Slicing and scooping out avocados

Draining and slicing tofu

Forming cookies and patties

Measuring liquids

Scooping batter into muffin cups

Using pizza cutter and can opener

Helping put groceries away

Cooking with you at stove

Loading and unloading dishwasher

 

10-12 years and up

This age group can start to work independently in the kitchen. However, before letting them do some things on their own, make sure that they are comfortable in the kitchen and that they can safely use a chef’s knife and handle electrical appliances. Here are some things that your developing sous chefs can excel at:

Working more independently in kitchen

Safely using chef’s knife and unplugging electrical appliances

Safely handling raw meats

Garnishing or decorating dishes

Washing dishes

Emptying dishwasher

Putting away leftovers

Wiping down counters and tables

 

Everyone, even your tiniest ones, can play a part in the kitchen! Hopefully these have encouraged you to start getting your kids involved with you in the kitchen, be it creating dishes, cleaning the counters, or setting the table. Just remember that every child is unique, so they may be ahead of or behind these suggestions. But no matter what age your child is, there is always a way for them to help out and start exploring the art of cooking! After all, cooking should be a fun and engaging activity to do with your kids.

 

Written by Gelsey Plaza

 

Rachel

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