What are good ways to let kids help in the kitchen?
Of course there are safety issues to take into consideration, but it can be helpful, fun, and a good learning opportunity to have the kids help make dinner or other meals. What are some good ways you've found to let the kids help out?
I have always had my boys in the kitchen with me (I want them to be good husbands!) They have either sat on the counter top and chewed on a wooden spoon when they were teething, just watching. They have passed mummy the ingredients, utensils, and gradually they have worked their way up to stirring, mixing, cracking eggs, measuring, putting a pinch of salt in the pots and pans, stuffing their hand up the chicken's bottom to put lemons and garlic in the cavity and under the chicken skin, chopping and slicing vegetables, to now being able to make omelettes (my 4 year old) and risotto, spag bol, grilled duck breasts with a salad of his own design for my 8 year old. They love being in the kitchen :) They can bake too and my eldest sons chocolate brownies are AMAZING! :) Just have fun, relax, make a mess and let them experiment. If they ask questions, answer them. If they want to have a go, guide them, never stop them due to your own fears and they will have you over come yours. Go cook people! :)
I guess my one piece of advice is this: let kids make a mess while they try to help. It isn't how YOU would cook, of course, but it is how they will learn to cook. Let them roll dough, and prepare for it not to be a uniform thickness. Let them use cookie cutters, and prepare for them not to really work out to be the "correct" shapes. Let them frost and stir and pour batter and hold the electric beater and be ready for the fact that they won't really do it correctly. It is OK!!! In fact, it is prefect! You can correct them, but don't be upset if they cannot do what you want them to do. Let them experiment and show them that it is OK if their cookie is not "perfect". One of my children has always been particularly keen on cracking eggs into a bowl and has been permitted to try this since about age 4. He is now 6 and cracks them into bowls very neatly. He is my "chef" kid who just loves to help in the kitchen in any capacity. Kids also love to use a knife. Slicing items such as cucumbers or melons (esp. watermelon), which are relatively soft, can be good starting point...you can even have them cut watermelon with a butter knife!
Have you ever stepped back and realized that kitchens are not designed with children in mind. What makes it difficult to include your young ones in the cooking process is that they have to stand on stools or sit on counters to reach the work space. The tippy-toe stretch keeps them off balance and takes away leverage needed to make the chore easier. Thankfully, small utensils are more available which helps. I challenge kitchen designers to create work spaces for children. You agree?
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I always let my girls cook and bake in the kitchen with me and now my grandkids do it, I got them their own little tools and stuff to help, but it is good for kids to learn to cook, my grandson who is 2 love to cook and he use to sit on the counter but him and his 5 year old sister have stools now and they stir stuff, they cut stuff with plastic knifes(limited on what they can cut bu they don't care) When I measure I count, as they get older I do fractions and addition by asking them if I double how many cups of flour do I need as an example and so on. It will also help them be good in math, because cooking and baking is all about numbers. I say let them make a mess, and let them help clean up, it is all a learning experience but they won't know they are learning because they will be having too much fun. When we make homemade pizza, they love trying new toppings just so they can decorate thier pizza. Now I notice my grandson plays cooking in the play kitchen in the toy room, and he loves mixing stuff up.
I tried and tried and tried. My sons are 20 and 24, and finally the younger one has a weensy bit of interest...if the limited attention span of a 2 year old! GO, MOMS, do all you can to make it fun and give them real jobs. The one thing that worked was letting them use a paring knife at age 8 despite the obvious scariness. I guess it seemed more "manly" to them, haha. Just keep trying and don't give up! You never know when something will sink through, even years and years later!
My daughter has been itching to help me in the kitchen from the time she could crawl in there. Initially I'd let her play in the pantry - which meant reorganizing where breakable items were stored - but kept her happy while I cooked. Now she's 2 and a half and she insists on helping me in the kitchen. We pull out the step stool and she stands side by side watching and learning. When I bake she gets to help pour ingredients and stir. When I'm fixing dinner (which usually involves sharp knives and a hot stove) I just let her watch and teach her about what I am doing. I use this as a regular opportunity to discuss kitchen safety. Like most children she's thrilled to help (or play as she sees it) in the kitchen with Mommy. She'll choose it over her favorite TV program which - unless I'm in a hurry - is just perfect.
My 2 year old loves to help me in the kitchen. She helps me make cakes, ice cream, whipped cream, muffins, corn bread, hummus, pudding, and more. I measure ingredients, she dumps them in the bowl and stirs them. She's helped me frost cakes. It's messy but fun. She loves the reward of eating whatever thing we make. As soon as she hears someone has a birthday coming up, she asks to make them a cake and ice cream. She has her own rubber spatula, whisk, and long spoon that are pink with pigs on the end. She's known those words since she was 1. She helps me pick vegetables from the garden and helps me wash them. She also loves helping with the dishes.
maybe start with cupcakes first to get them interested , do some icing and decorate them they will love it even ginger bread men they are so easy ..just yesterday my 5 yr old son and i made cupcakes and put bright blue icing on them and little silver balls to decorate he wanted to make more. but all my kids love cooking im hoping my 11 yr old becomes a chief he loves the 4 ingredients cook book .. good luck ..and dont worry about the mess :-)