Your little ones love to be around you – it’s just the parent – child bond that transcends everything. They cling to your every word and tone of voice, and their young minds absorb information like a sponge. That being said, you don’t have to be afraid to let them into the kitchen – Involve them in that part of your world, taking certain precautions of course.
If you want to let your kids into your cooking world, here are a few ways we’ve come up that your kids could help out in the kitchen with specific activities custom made for certain ages so they can train to be master chefs too! Children have different learning curves, so take the ages given as a suggestion and go by what you feel comfortable.
- Infants: 0 – 18 months
At this age there’s not really much that they can do apart from observing their mommy and daddy being busy in the kitchen. Set them someplace safe in their high chair or playpen and give them a few tools to play around with – wooden spoons, bowls – they can bang those around to their heart’s content. Have a conversation with them and let them smell what you are cooking. This is all about introducing them to the wonderful world of cooking.
- Toddlers: 18 months – 3 years
Kids are actually ready to help around the kitchen from the age of two onwards. There are a few simple tasks that could be given to them like the following:
- Break up the greens into tiny pieces – that sounds like a fun thing to do and would keep them occupied.
- Stir the batter – We’ve all done this when we were kids. Remember trying to get that perfect batter and then licking up the end bits?
- Mash the veggies – there’s nothing better than to squish the boiled veggies or potatoes into mashed bits and pieces. This is something that they can get their hands dirty which they would love, and also help you out in the same time.
- Wash the veggies – This tells them how important it is to wash vegetables thoroughly to remove bacteria – their tiny hands will concentrate on washing the veggies more thoroughly than we probably do.
- Pick the herbs – Removing the herbs from the stem is a task that they will like and you don’t worry about anything going wrong – there’s no measuring or washing and this keeps them occupied too.
They need instruction and directions on what to do, but they will prove to be enthusiastic little helpers.
- Preschoolers: 4 – 5 years
Although they’ll also need a lot of help and supervision preschoolers are improving and working on their motor skills, so this would be a great time to involve them in the kitchen. Here are a few tasks that they can help you out with:
- Give them a plastic knife to cut softer foods like boiled potatoes or boiled veggies
- Roll out the dough for making cookies, cake or pizza. This is fun for them
- Spread out the jam or the butter on various foods – they can even have a bite of jam themselves. Nothing like a little treat as you work.
- Setting an alarm for the food to check when it’s done or even a timer
- They could help lay out the table – put the plates and cutlery on the table
- Crack eggs – You’ll probably have to stop them from becoming too enthusiastic about this job – it’s easy to go overboard and you’ll suddenly; find yourself with a bowlful of cracked eggs.
- Clean the countertops with an all purpose cleaner and wipe it down
- Fill the soap compartment of the dishwasher and press the start button.