5 Ways to Involve Kids in the Kitchen

There are several benefits to getting your kids in the kitchen and cooking. Aside from teaching them basic cooking skills, being included in the cooking process and seeing the ingredients makes children, especially picky eaters, more likely to want to try new foods. It also takes the mystery out of exactly what you put into those meatballs.

Even toddlers can help out with easy tasks, and it builds self-confidence for them to be able to contribute to a family activity. It goes without saying that all tasks should be simple and safe {nobody needs a two year old running around with a butcher knife}. Just prepare for a mess and allot some extra time for clean-up!

Use cooking as a teaching tool   Have your child measure out ingredients, count how many different vegetables there are in a dish, identify the color of each ingredient, practice spelling and reading using the recipe, and hone fine motor skills by doing some of the tasks listed below.

Give your little helper a job to do   Wash veggies, crack eggs, stir batter, mash potatoes, measure sugar, hand you ingredients, crumble crackers, tear lettuce, sprinkle seasonings, knead dough, snap beans—you get the picture.

Have a Make-Your-Own night   You can set all the ingredients out for everyone to make their own mini pizzas, taco salads, mac and cheese with mix-ins … it can be anything your child can easily build and put together.

Involve your child in the clean-up   It’s important for children to learn the whole process from cooking to cleaning to eating. Plus, it teaches them that cooking is just like playing with toys—you pick up when you’re done—which is a good habit to enforce early on.

Make it fun!   Get your little helper a child-sized apron, pick up a few colorful cooking utensils, make sure he has a safe way to reach the counter so he can work right next to mommy and daddy, play some fun music, and let go a little bit. It probably won’t be your most impressive culinary achievement, but the time you spend with your child will be totally worth it!

About mommachine

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and colleague. And trying to balance all of those roles at once can be utterly exhausting. Being the Type A control freak that I am, I try to run my life like a well-oiled machine. But sometimes the wheels get a bit squeaky (or just fly off completely, let's be honest). I have to slow down (yeah right, I know), give the different parts of my life a little tune-up and get back on the road.

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