Kids kitchen chores and chores by age – Advice Eating

In my home, some of the best memories happened in the kitchen. I remember learning to cook alongside my mother and grandmother and vowing that one day I would pass those lessons on to my future children. Now that I’m a mom, I’ve learned that cooking with your child allows them to explore different tastes and textures from an early age — and can even lead to less picky attitudes as they get older as they get involved in their eating process feels included and more likely to experiment with new flavors.

Cooking with your kids also gives them a sense of independence and accomplishment, and teaches them family traditions, important food skills, and other habits that they can carry into adulthood. But even outside of class, spending time together in the kitchen is fun! (Clean up, maybe not so much.) Choose a time when you’re not in a hurry, such as Sunday. B. Weekend meals and Sunday brunch instead of a weeknight dinner so you have time to explain and collaborate. Rushing through a task or getting frustrated that it’s taking too long is counterproductive. So try to make it comfortable for everyone by allowing an extra half hour to cook your meals together.

Are you looking for ways to introduce your child to the kitchen? Below are age-appropriate tasks that will transform your toddler into a master chef in no time. And remember, every child develops at a different rate. Use your judgment and your baby’s skills to determine which tasks he can safely perform.

Babies and toddlers (ages 0-2)

Credit: Getty Images / Sam Edwards

Handling whole fruits and vegetables is a great sensory experience for babies and toddlers.

Babies and toddlers love observing and absorbing the sights around them. This is a great opportunity for them to touch, taste and explore new ingredients and make noise with cooking utensils. Set your little one down in a safe place in the kitchen — like a high chair, playpen, or learning tower if they can stand — and let them touch objects like the peel of an orange, a wooden spoon, or plastic measuring cups. Make sure you verbalize what you’re doing out loud so they associate the process with the words that will help them as they begin to develop language skills.

Babies and toddlers can:

  • Play with whole fruits and vegetables, wooden spoons and mixing bowls: We recommend the Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair and the Little Partners Explore N Store Learning Tower.

  • Discover a sensory table with water and measuring cups to scoop, dip and explore

  • Smell and taste age-appropriate ingredients

  • Tear up herbs or lettuce leaves: This is also a great time to smell new ingredients.

  • Sprinkle spices and salt

Preschool (ages 2-5)

A parent and child make cookie dough together.

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Cookie dough and cake or pancake batter are perfect for making with preschoolers.

Preschoolers will love working on fine motor skills and gaining even more independence. They can show signs of pimpiness when eating, which is why including them in the cooking process is so helpful as they feel a stronger connection when they help prepare their meals. This is also the age group when they can do larger cooking tasks like rolling out dough and mixing more ingredients.

Children this age can help with the following tasks:

  • Roll out pizza or cookie dough and cut out with a child-safe knife or cookie cutter: We recommend the Curious Chef 3 Piece Nylon Knife Set.

  • Arrange the cookie dough on the baking sheet: If you’re looking for inexpensive, all-purpose baking sheets, try the Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet, the best baking sheet we’ve tested.

  • Batter for pancakes

  • Customize your own smoothies by choosing from a list of ingredients: This makes them feel like they have control over what they put into their bodies while still receiving nourishment. Pick five to six healthy options and let them decide what goes in.

  • Help finding ingredients in the fridge or cupboard: This also helps them to further develop their language skills.

  • Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently with a wooden spoon

  • Add sprinkles to cake

  • Placing muffin cases in muffin tins: We love these brightly colored, reusable silicone cupcake liners.

  • Sorting spoons and forks for the dishwasher

  • Setting a timer

  • Peel and slice hard-boiled eggs with a child-safe knife: The Dash Rapid Egg Cooker is child-sized and perfect for quickly hard-boiling six eggs at once.

Lower Elementary (ages 5-7)

A parent prepares a meal with the help of his two children.

Credit: Getty Images / Edwin Tan

Children in lower grade school can help out with slightly more advanced kitchen tasks like grating cheese or vegetables.

By this age, your child has been spending a lot of time in the kitchen and has acquired some basic prep skills. They are now also learning to read and can follow simple recipes, such as making their own chia pudding or mixing their own cupcake batter. This is a good time to get them involved in cooking tasks that require the hob and teach them how to use appliances like a stand mixer, grater, and blender safely.

The following tasks are suitable for children of this age:

  • Read recipes aloud and complete tasks independently

  • Grating cheese on a box grater: Invest in the best box grater we’ve tested, the Microplane Four Sided Box Grater, to make grating easier for the whole family.

  • Write down your recipe for the perfect fruit salad: Then chop the ingredients with a kid-friendly knife to recreate the recipe.

  • Make your own sandwiches

Upper elementary level (7 to 11 years)

Two parents cook with the help of two children.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/PeopleImages

Older children can use the stove to prepare simple dishes under parental supervision.

At this age, your child is much more coordinated and can even start cooking under your supervision. Allowing them to help plan the weekly household menu gives them a sense of inclusion and allows them to get creative with their newfound skills. This is the age when you can decide if they’re ready to make the switch to adult small kitchen knives, but as always, use your judgment.

Older children can:

  • Cooking simple dishes on the stove: Grilled cheese, pancakes, and scrambled eggs are good dishes to start with.

  • Make your own school lunches and create your own snacks: If you’re looking for nutritious inspiration, check out these nutritionist-recommended snacks.

  • Prepare yogurt parfaits in individual containers for the week

  • Use a kid-friendly knife to cut things like cheese, tofu, berries, and bread

  • Skewer the meat and vegetables on wooden skewers and marinate for later: This task is perfect for the family who loves to grill.

Why you should ask your kids to help you in the kitchen

There is no limit to the possibilities your child can achieve in the kitchen when given the opportunity to learn. I firmly believe that this leads to lifelong confident eating habits and a positive attitude towards food. Instead of making eating a struggle, we can work to make it a fun activity for the whole family by shifting the focus away from the food to need to eat and to want to eat because they feel involved in the process. There are endless ways to learn and grow with your child, and the kitchen is one of the best (and tastiest) of them all.

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