How Young Children Can Help in the Kitchen – National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day

To celebrate National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day, (September 13th) we are bringing you some fun ideas of how to have your children help out.

Allowing your children to help in the provides many learning opportunities, well beyond cooking skills. Children learn math skills, (fractions, counting, measuring), reading skills, how to follow directions, science (baking, mixing, states of matter, chemistry, physics), spatial relationships, and so much more.

A big thank you to Applebees for asking us to join them on this segment.  For a limited time, all of the 66 TEAM Schostak Applebee’s Restaurant locations are hosting $.99 cent meals on Tuesdays for children (with the purchase of an adult meal).  You can read more about the special offer on our blog:

How do your kids help you in the kitchen? Leave a comment below.

How your child can help in the kitchen is based on many factors like maturity, dexterity, attention, interest, so use your best judgement to determine what is appropriate for your child.

Under One year:

Let your child observe while you cook. Give them chances to handle save objects like plastic mixing bowl, measuring cups, spatulas, spoons, etc. Talk to your children while you cook, explain what you are doing, you can even let them smell or taste some of the ingredients (providing they are safe).

One to Three Years:

There is a huge range of abilities here.. but kids as young can “help” in the following tasks while you place your hand over theirs until they are able to do it on their own.

  • Rinse fruits and vegetables
  • Scrub potatoes and carrots
  • Pour ingredients into a bowl
  • Pick herbs off the stem
  • Tear greens into pieces
  • Brush oil or butter with a pastry brush
  • Stir batter in a bowl
  • Kneeding dough
  • Mash vegetables
  • Sprinkle cheese, salt or herbs
  • Placing items on a pan or dish (like placing muffins or buns on a cookie sheet)
  • Hold the dustpan
  • Put silverware in the dishwasher
  • Put silverware away
  • Set the table (especially the napkins)
  • Whisking ingredients
  • Using a spatula to clean a bowl
  • Crack an Egg

  • Three to Five Years:

    At this age children are becoming more independent and can complete some of the tasks, with supervision, from the one to three year category by themselves in addition to the following tasks: 
    • Cut soft foods with a plastic knife.
    • Roll out and knead pizza or bread dough.
    • Juice lemons and limes.
    • Measure and level dry ingredients with a straight edge.
    • Spread peanut butter, butter and jam.
    • Set the timer.
    • Whisk a vinaigrette.
    • Peel a cooled hard-boiled egg.
    • Set the table.
    • Rinse dishes that aren’t too heavy.
    • Spray and Wipe the counter or kitchen table
    • Clean the sink
    • Scoot in chairs
    • Set the table
    • Fill the dishwasher soap compartment, and press the “Start” button.
    • Unload the dishwasher (especially the plastic items)
    • Sweep
    • Close cupboards and drawers
    • Take out and put away items within their reach and ability
    • Clean up spills
    • Place recyclable items in the bin
    • Tasting as you prepare
    • Setting a timer on your phone or tablet (or an old school wind up one)
    • Using biscuit or cookie cutters
    • Selection of menu items (picking out a veggie, or even planning a meal)

    Five to Eight Years:

    At this age, children should still be supervised in the kitchen, but they are able to complete most tasks without much intervention.  They help in the kitchen by completing any of the previous tasks and: 

    • Measuring ingredients
    • Dicing and mincing vegetables
    • Grating cheese (watch out for fingers)
    • Peeling potatoes, carrots and other veggies and fruit
    • Slicing fruits and veggies
    • Greasing pans
    • Forming cookies, rolls, patties
    • Pouring ingredients
    • Cooking at the stove with close supervision
    • Use a can opener or garlic press
    • Use a hand mixer
    • Scoop batter into muffin tins
    • Scoop dough onto cookie sheets
    • Slice bread
    • Help put away groceries
    • Load the dishwasher
    What do your children do to help you in the kitchen?  

    Amber Louchart

    Amber is the proud Homeschooling mother to four beautiful children, Damian (23), Rosaleigh (9), Carlyn (6), Naomi (3) and a wife to her loving husband, Chancellor. Her family also includes three cats. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and feels blessed to be able to care for her children full-time and provide them with so many opportunities through Metro Detroit Mommy.

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