Been trying to figure out how to get your kids into the kitchen? Kids as early as two can assist with a variety of tasks in the main hub of the home. The lessons that kids will learn are invaluable! Discover easy ways to include them, as well as products that are designed for their level.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for details.
Why should you get your kids involved in kitchen activities?
Many of my favorite childhood memories stem from time being spent in the kitchen with my loved ones. When I started my own family, I knew that I wanted to continue that tradition and help encourage a love for cooking. Both of my boys are now teens and some of the best at making a delicious breakfast. Each have their own unique skills and the best part is that I know they can fend for themselves when I’m not available to cook.
The more time children spend in the kitchen, the more comfortable they will be. It’s an essential skill that will come in handy more often than it will ever be a hindrance. Your skill level doesn’t have to be at a professional level. Kids will enjoy the fun, the memories, and the tasty dishes they create.
Baking and cooking teaches kids mathematics, measurement, proper nutrition, and opens their willingness to try new flavors. For a long time, I struggled with fractions when they were presented to me as basic math; however, once I learned how to associate them with baking, I began excelling at the skill. Sometimes, putting it into perspective is all it takes!
Both of my boys began experiencing table foods in the same fashion, but my youngest proved to have a much pickier palate. By helping out in the kitchen, he learned that there were a lot of foods he didn’t enjoy the texture of and also became more receptive to trying new foods once he worked with it.
Creativity is something that kids are often full of. This comes in handy when it comes to food! Even if it seems like an odd combination for you, your child may enjoy it. Let them give it a try. The experience will help them maintain their creativity in other positive aspects of their lives.
Comfort with Knives
One of the skills that I wish I had learned early on is using knives. Today, kids have the opportunity to learn knife skills and safety with sets that are designed for their inexperience. A nylon knife set will give kids the necessary safety for kids who have never cut with knives. The set is serrated and will cut soft fruits, veggies, cake or cheese without cutting the skin. Blunted tips prevent poking/stabbing incidents.
Food safety is as important as the physical acts of baking and cooking. Properly washing your hands and knowing them they need to be re-washed are critical to preventing cross contamination and illness. Once kids are old enough to understand, they can learn how to handle raw meat and eggs.
Next time you go to the grocery store, allow the kids to participate. Have them assist in looking through the flyer to see what is on sale and encourage them to choose meals based on these ingredients. This can also incorporate lessons in budgeting!
Once you’re in the store, take your time going through the produce section. Explain how they need to avoid produce with broken skin, as this is an open door for bacteria. Choosing the best pieces ensures a delicious meal and getting the most for your money.
How many times have you unloaded your grocery cart and grouped like items together to be bagged, yet still ended up with items bagged together that shouldn’t have been? I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have had raw meat bagged with bread, fresh fruits or veggies, and even non-food items.
Even though the grocery store may not be laid out in the proper way to shop (I know, it’s for marketing purposes, but ugh! What a pain!), but it’s important for children to understand how to place things in the cart without damaging them. Refrigerated and frozen foods should be some of the final items you choose to ensure that they remain at proper temperatures. Fruits, breads, etc. shouldn’t be bought first as they can smashed underneath dry goods.
Aprons – Protect more than clothing!
Wearing proper clothing while baking and cooking are important, too. I have ruined a lot of shirts because I jumped in and started cooking without bothering to change or wearing an apron. An apron can provide more than a style purpose. It protects your skin from hot liquids and foods. Food stains can often be difficult to remove from clothing and an apron is exactly what you’ll need to save mom on laundry day!
- Washing produce
- Measuring and adding ingredients
- Rolling dough and using a cookie cutter
- Creating a menu and shopping list
- Putting groceries away in the cabinets
- Setting the table
- Cleaning up the table
- Rinsing dishes for the dishwasher
- Putting dishes away