Kids are naturally interested in what their parents are doing, which is why they are often eager to help in the kitchen. Especially if you are whipping up their favorite peanut butter recipe or homemade muffins, they might come running and ask what they can do. Next time your kids want to help, try these ideas to get them engaged in age-appropriate ways.
- Pouring and mixing
Anytime you bake, let your kids pour ingredients into the bowl and mix the batter. Mixing ingredients together with a whisk or spoon is very rewarding as kids see the batter begin to form. Older children can even fill and level off measuring cups themselves and operate electric mixers.
- Spreading condiments
This task builds hand-eye coordination and is even simple enough for toddlers. At breakfast, have kids spread butter on pancakes with a butter knife. Invite kids to help put mayonnaise and mustard on bread for cold cut sandwiches for lunch. Have them help butter the bread for grilled cheese sandwiches to go with tomato soup.
- Reading recipes aloud
Invite your kids to help by reading the recipe to you and getting out the ingredients. This task is perfect for children who are just learning to read, and it builds confidence in reading aloud. Kids will enjoy the challenge of figuring out words and hunting down those ingredients.
- Assembling and decorating
Bring out your kids’ artistic side by inviting them to artfully assemble the foods you’re preparing. Choose kid-friendly recipes that have ingredients your kids enjoy, and invite them to help by putting together individual portions. They can assemble French bread pizzas or decorate cookies and cupcakes to help.
- Washing dishes
Cleaning up is an important part of the cooking process, and if you make it, you can gain a useful helper. Fill your sink with sudsy water, pull up a sturdy stool, and let your kids wash unbreakable dishes you’re using while preparing the recipe.
Even toddlers love to help in the kitchen, and if you get them started early, you will have help for many years to come. Engaging kids in the cooking process also helps them to become invested in the dishes so they are more likely to enjoy eating the foods they prepare!