Kids Cooking in the Kitchen
Children love to help cook and can even make some fun recipes all by themselves!
Making their own food will help kids become familiar with the kitchen, help
them try new foods, build cooking skills and get them engaged with what they
Toddlers and preschoolers can also help in the kitchen. Check out these tips
for inviting kids of all ages into the kitchen.
Why Should Kids Cook in the Kitchen?
Kids receive instant gratification with cooking. Working hard to prepare food,
waiting for it to cook and then tasting a delicious outcome builds
self-confidence while teaching a useful skill.
Through cooking, kids practice reading, following directions, counting and
Studies show that kids are more likely to eat a food if they helped prepare it.
Parents can interpret this research to mean less picky eaters, more healthy
eaters and a more peaceful meal time!
Cooking is a productive activity! Cooking together as a family will allow for
families to work together, talk and listen to each other and bond while getting
those meals made! Don’t forget, the kids can help clean up too!
Cooking with Toddlers/Preschoolers
Young children learn best through hands-on experiences. Assisting in the kitchen
is the perfect learning-play zone for them! Let your young child try any of the
following kitchen tasks. They increase in difficulty as your child’s skills
grow with age.
Scrubbing vegetables and fruits clean
Tearing lettuce for salads and sandwiches
Setting the table with spoons and napkins
Wiping tables clean
Rinsing dishes clean
Stirring food/liquid together in a bowl
Pouring food/liquid into bowls
Wrapping tortillas around cheese for a snack or vegetables for a sandwich
Shaking a container to blend the food/liquid inside
Spreading peanut butter on celery, apples or bread
Peeling bananas, oranges or corn on the cob
Mashing bananas or potatoes
Measuring dry and liquid ingredients
Cutting soft foods using a plastic knife or dull knife such as a butter knife
Grating foods like carrots and cheese.
Other Ways Kids Can Help
Have them help you make the grocery list. They can open the cupboards, pantry
and/or refrigerator and tell you what healthy foods are in need. Flip through
recipes and cookbooks together and find foods that interest you. Use dinner
time to plan the next day’s meals: each family member can choose a food.
Keep kids busy at the grocery store by giving them part of the list. Let them
select the best fruits and vegetables. Check out our
Food, Fun and Fitness
Craft Section to have your child make their own grocery tote!
Kids as young as 2 can help set and clear the table. The idea is not to have
them feel like this is a “chore” but that they have an important role in family
Family Cooking Tips
Supervise kids at all times to prevent injury or accidents.
Wash hands before cooking and between preparation of raw and cooked foods.
Preparation is often the key to successful cooking. Gather all needed food and
supplies first. Chop and measure everything before starting.
Make it easy for kids to help by placing utensils such as measuring cups and
spoons where they can reach them. Let them pull a step stool up to the counter
so that they can help measure and pour. Portion food and liquid into smaller
containers so that kids can lift them easier. For example, most kids have
difficulty lifting a gallon of milk. Pour some into a plastic jug (water
bottles work well) and store on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Kids can
then easily lift it off the shelf and pour themselves!
Expect some messes.