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Parents are always coming to me for age-appropriate suggestions for getting their children involved in the kitchen. Prepping, cooking, and baking in the kitchen with your kiddos is a great way to combat picky eating and to promote healthy life skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
When cooking meals you can give your child small tasks to help you out. You can further your child’s learning experience by integrating following directions, counting, and color recognition.
Below I have broken down some common kitchen/ cooking tasks you can give your child based on their age group. Most importantly, refrain from assigning tasks to your child that may cause harm or danger. Also, make sure to keep a close eye on them as they complete the tasks.
Tasks for 2-Year Old Children in The Kitchen
The most common ways to get your 2-year old involved in the kitchen include stirring together ingredients, pouring, and washing ingredients and dishes.
Here are some more tasks you can assign to your 2-year old:
- Wash vegetables in the sin. Grab one of these handy veggie scrubbers.
- Hand you ingredients that you have sitting out on your counter.
- Oil or butter veggies with brush.
- Sprinkle toppings or garnishes.
- Set table with silverware.
- Wipe down table and chairs after mealtime.
Don’t forget to teach them the words for different ingredients or dishes you are cooking. You can count out the number of vegetables or fruits you are using in your recipe, the ingredients in total, and the number of silverware settings.
Feel free to start showing your two-year how to complete some of the tasks listed under other age groups if you find that they are ready.
Tasks for 3-Year Old Children in The Kitchen
The most common ways that you can get your 3-year old involved in the kitchen include cracking eggs, spreading soft spreads, and finding ingredients/ condiments in the pantry or fridge.
Here are some more tasks you can assign to your 3-year old:
- make juice (freshly squezzed or from concentrate)
- wrap vegetables (sweet potatoes) in foil for baking or grilling
- knead and roll out dough
- pluck grapes from the stems
When you have your child crack eggs for breakfast or for a recipe, have them crack the eggs into a small bowl and then add them to your pan or batter. This will ensure you can catch and remove any shell fragments.
Tasks for 4- and 5-Year Old Children in The Kitchen
The most common ways to get your 4- or 5-year old involved in the kitchen include measuring out ingredients, mashing soft foods (mashed sweet potatoes, guacamole, beans), and setting the table.
Here are some more tasks you can assign 4- to 5-year olds:
- cut soft foods (make sure this is done with a dull knife and under supervision)
- grate cheese
- peel foods (bananas, tangerienes, hard-boiled eggs)
- set timer on the oven
- clear the table
- wipe down the counters
Keep a paper towel or kitchen towel underneath your child’s workspace as they learn to measure out ingredients. They are prone to spill and this will make it super easy to clean up.
Let’s Wrap It Up
Cooking with your children takes more time and requires patience. Be prepared. Know what you are going to have them help you with and have the tools they will need ready. This is a great stool that you can purchase so your little one can reach the counter.
Having experience and positive associations with food, cooking, and mealtime is incredibly important in creating a healthy relationship between your child and food. Cooking with your little one creates a fun activity for them to do with you that promotes learning.
Comment your favorite task to assign your child in the kitchen or share your experience cooking with your kiddos.
As always, if you have any questions about cooking with your kids or need more suggestions comment below or reach out to me privately on my contact page.