I have mentioned before that I love to have my kids help me with meal planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation. When children are involved with these, they tend to be more interested in food and more likely to try new things. Also, I love that I can spend extra time with them while doing things I need to get done. If you are interested in getting your kids more involved in grocery shopping, you can see my tips for success here. If you are interested in getting your children more involved in the kitchen, I have shared some ideas below. I have categorized them into ages, but you know your child best and some will be ready sooner or later than others.
At 18 months and beyond, as long as they are supervised, children can help to pour dry ingredients into a recipe, help tear lettuce, help rinse vegetables and fruit, and help place pieces of potato or chopped vegetable into a baking pan.
From about 2 years and beyond, children can continue to do the things above, but also start to help with pouring small amounts of wet liquids into recipes, stir ingredients together, and hold down the lid on a blender. They can also help mash potatoes or sweet potatoes. If a child can count at this age, they can count the number of anything going into a recipe or the oven or that you are serving onto a plate.
At three years or age, a child can do all the things above with greater independence…especially if they have been used to doing them for a while now. They can also start to voice their opinion more on helping with choices. For example, you could say “would you like an apple or a banana for snack” and they completely know what you are talking about and will remember that they chose their snack when snack time comes a few hours later.
At four years of age, they can start to help put some groceries away, pour cereal, pour milk, get their own water, put spreads onto breads or wraps, help to serve fresh vegetables onto plates or put dip into a bowl. It may not be done perfectly, but (from my experience) they will be much more interested in eating carrots and hummus that they have put out than if you did it all for them. Children at this age can also learn how to properly measure dry ingredients for a recipe and are at a perfect age to start involving in lunch choices and preparation.
As a child gets older, they can start to measure liquids for a recipe, cut fruit with a dull knife, peel oranges and bananas with less help, pack their own snacks and lunch, and do all the above activities with more proficiency. Before you know it, your child will be making you breakfast on the weekends 😉
Hope this gives you some fun ideas and inspirations for ways you can get your kids more involved in the kitchen over the coming weeks, months, and years.
Until next time…stay healthy!