Making meals as a family is a great way to spend time together, and children will learn about food and cooking! Many children enjoy helping in the kitchen. While they help you cook, you can talk to them about healthy foods. Children like to eat the foods they make. Cooking with your children is a good way to help them develop healthy eating habits and build food preparation skills!
Research has shown that children who help in the kitchen choose to eat more fruits and vegetables. Encourage your child to try some of the ingredients but do not force them. Being around and becoming more familiar with new ingredients will eventually help your child want to try new things!
Around 2 years old, children are ready to start helping with a few simple tasks. They will still need a lot of instruction and supervision, but they are likely to be very enthusiastic about helping!
Listed below are some appropriate kitchen tasks for children. Remember that children develop at their own rate, and they always need very close adult supervision. You must determine what is appropriate for your child.
- Pour dry and liquid ingredients into a bowl
- Stir ingredients
- Tear lettuce and other greens
- Peel fruits like oranges and bananas
- Pull apart pieces of broccoli and cauliflower
- Apply soft spreads, like peanut butter
- Help put groceries away
Elementary school aged
- Read recipes out loud together
- Grate cheese with a box grater
- Grease a baking pan
- Scoop batter into muffin cups
- Use a whisk
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Set the table
Middle and high school aged
- Safely use a chef’s knife
- Learn how to operate kitchen appliances
- Learn safety skills, such as tucking panhandles
- Follow recipes on their own
- Learn how to cook basic things, such as eggs