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Get Your Kids in the Kitchen

Getting kids in the kitchen and having them help with food preparation encourages them to be independent and to have healthy habits. It teaches children to appreciate and enjoy healthy, homemade food.

As early as three years old, you can involve them in food preparation and supervise them to do simple tasks in the kitchen. Assigning kitchen tasks to children within safe, reasonable limits will do you and your child a world of good.

It’s important to match your kids’ skill level with the various tasks for a delightful, positive experience in the kitchen. If this can be achieved, it will inspire them to participate more, and learn more not just about food, but about themselves, their capabilities and interests. It goes without saying that cooking with your kids is a great bonding activity!

Here are some age-specific tasks for your child:

3-Year Olds

  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Stir ingredients in a bowl
  • Tear lettuce
  • Pour liquids

4-Year Olds

  • Grease pans
  • Open packages
  • Peel oranges or hard-cooked eggs
  • Snip fresh herbs with dull scissors
  • Mash bananas with a fork

5-to 6-Year Olds

  • Measure ingredients
  • Cut soft foods with a blunt knife
  • Set the table
  • Garnish food

7-to 8-Year Olds

  • Help plan the meal
  • Roll and shape cookies
  • Beat ingredients with a whisk
  • Find ingredients in a cabinet or spice rack
  • Make a salad

9- to 12-Year Olds

  • Open cans
  • Use a microwave oven
  • Prepare simple recipes with few ingredients
  • Use an oven (with supervision)
  • Use a knife (with supervision)
  • Shred cheese and vegetables

13- to 16-Year Olds

  • Prepare recipes with multiple ingredients
  • Prepare recipes independently

Don’t forget to praise them for good work! Empower them. Teach them the basic skills needed, and other things like how to choose great produce, for example. Please be reminded that it is important to not just order them around. Serve as a guide, and let them make their own decisions, too.

Here’s a bonus quick and healthy snack that you could make with the younger kids! This Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Coated Tortilla Chips recipe is from Monique of Divas Can Cook. Enjoy!



Anne Gan
Anne Gan


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