Cooking is a great skill for kids to learn, and the sooner the better I say! And not just because I have dreams of my children cooking me fabulous meals a few years from now while I read with my feet up…although, that does sound amazing. I am working towards that, if you must know – but there are so many more reasons to get your kids in the kitchen. There are valuable lessons like learning to measure, practical math skills, etc; cooking can also be a part of an approach to minimize picky eating; and there are the very positive relational benefits you and your kids receive from cooking together. But there is another reason that’s easy for a parent to miss. A crucial reason that kids have totally caught on to: participating in kitchen tasks is fun!
In the very beginning, it’s the essence of pretend play – modeling grown-up behavior in a real life scenario that has a tasty result at the end of it! How much more fun could that be?
Are you ready to get your kids started on some fun in the kitchen? Here are some fun beginner kitchen tasks for kids:
I know, it sounds relatively mundane…until you put a whisk in the hands of a three-year-old. It’s like magic come to life! I got this cute little giraffe whisk for my son Alex a few years ago, and he loved coming in the kitchen to help me mix pancake batter or carefully stir the dry ingredients for a baking project. It’s still a favorite with my younger kids, who get a real thrill out of helping mommy whisk!
2. Peeling Veggies
This is the first task that really made a helpful difference for me…and it’s fun and easy for kids to get the hang of! There’s definitely a bit of oversight needed at first, as with any kitchen task, but it’s wonderfully helpful in the long-run. For the kids, there’s such a sense of productivity with peeling vegetables – at first you start out with just a few carrots…but at the end, you’ve got carrots, and this awesomely curly pile of carrot peelings!
And if you’re not sure it’s worth it to teach this fun little kitchen task, let me tell you – the other day, I made a simple carrot bisque for lunch with carrots, chicken stock, and cream – and all two pounds of carrots were peeled (and cut) by my seven-year-old. All I had to do was get the carrots simmering in the chicken stock and blend it all at the end. How awesome is that?! And the best part was that he was totally open to trying this new soup because he’d had such a major part in preparing it – I love that!
3. Cracking Eggs
Is it just me, or is cracking an egg when you’re a kid just the most amazing thing ever? This was one of the first things I learned to do with my mother in the kitchen, and I still remember standing by her every morning just for the chance to crack the eggs for breakfast. Sure, it requires a bit of finesse, but all that comes with time…for now, keep a fork handy to fish out a shell or two, and get ready to share in the wonder of unlocking the hidden treasure inside the egg!
This one can get a bit messy depending on the ingredients you’re using, but it’s one of the easiest ways to include your kids in the kitchen. Help your little ones measure out everything from flour to milk to vanilla – it is so fun for them, and a great opportunity to learn about new ingredients. Take the time to talk about the foods, smell the spices, and sample the chocolate chips for the cookies…it will bring the food to life for you as well!
5. Cutting & Slicing
Of course, this fun kitchen task should only be taught to kids that are ready – and always with supervision. Using a knife is a big step toward kitchen independence, and a real confidence booster! Alex uses the small knives from this knife set, and he helps out in a big way now that he’s got the hang of things. He peels and cuts the carrot sticks for lunch, slices fruit for snack time, and is always looking for ways to get in the kitchen to help cut where needed!
Do your kids help out in the kitchen? Share their favorite tasks in the comments!