Cooking with Kids...Without Losing Your Cool (Part Two - Kitchen Activities by Age)

Sunday, October 6
by Robin



This is Part Two in our Cooking with Kids...Without Losing Your Cool series.  In our first post we talked about:
  1. Why you should subject yourself to the messy prospect of bringing your kids in the kitchen (hint: it's really awesome for your kids in many many ways);
  2. How to prepare yourself;
  3. Where to start;
  4. How to keep it safe;
  5. How to set them (and you!) up for success.

Today, I'm sharing more ways to make success for likely for you and your kids.  Basically: how keep your expectations reasonable.  At different ages and developmental stages some tasks are better than others.



Because remember:
If you are asking your kids to help with something they just aren't ready to do there will be someone laying on the floor and crying

- and your kids do not need to see you like that.



Kitchen Activities by Age…   


2 to 3 year-olds:

  • Wash fruits or vegetables in the sink
  • Add items to dishes,
  • Counting ingredients
  • Help find things in the fridge or cupboard
  • Put paper cups into muffin tins



3 to 4 year-olds:

  • Pour from a small measuring cup
  • Help assemble a simple sandwich or pizza
  • Mash soft foods:
    • cooked vegetables, like potatoes, carrots
    • bananas for pancakes or banana bread
    • avocados for guacamole
  • Remove eggshells from hard-boiled eggs


 
4 to 6 year-olds:

  • Assemble foods:
    • trail mix, 
    • simple sandwiches 
    • toppings
  • Stir ingredients together:
    • batter for muffins, cakes, cookies
    • pancakes
    • sauces
  • Talk about where a food comes from
  • Slice with a plastic knife:
    • soft-cooked vegetables
    • soft fruit
    • cheese or tofu
  • Set the table
  • Crack and beat an egg


Assembling a homemade "Lunchable" is a great activity for kids.  Check out our post for more ideas!





6 to 8 year-olds:

  • Use simple kitchen equipment (with supervision): 
    • Grater
    • Toaster
    • Blender
    • Can opener 
  • Toss salad 
  • Use kid-friendly cookbooks 
  •  Help write: 
    • list of healthy snacks
    • grocery list


Start with dull knives and work your way up from there.



8 to 9 year-olds:

  • Measure liquid & dry ingredients
  • With supervision:
    • Use small knife to cut
    • Grate and peel cheese and vegetables
    • Use microwave and blender
    • Mix, roll, and shape cookies
    • Knead dough
    • Sprinkle, spoon, and mix ingredients


There's a lot more to food than preparing it.  Working in a garden or visiting a farm are valuable activities



10 to 11 year-olds:

  • Peel, cut, chop, shred, and grate vegetables & fruit
  • With supervision:
    • Use sharper knives
    • Use the stove top
    • Put trays in the oven
    • Use a mandolin to slice
    • Follow simple recipes
    • Plan a meal



Age 12+:

  • Insert and remove food from the oven
  • Follow recipes with many ingredients
  • Plan a meal for the whole family
  • Prepare a meal for the whole family (with supervision, especially at first!)





What's your experience?  What has worked well for you in the kitchen with your kids?












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