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Make Memories With Your Kids in the Kitchen

Photograph by Getty Images

We all could use a little help in the kitchen over the holidays, agreed? Well, if you’ve got children around (yours or borrowed), then you’ve got sous chefs in training!

Who cares if they can barely see over the kitchen counter? There’s a job for everyone!

RELATED: Easy Cooking for Kids

Some of my best memories are of being with my kids in the kitchen. Not only do they learn about kitchen safety and cleanliness (something they’ll use the rest of their lives), but also about patience, working as a team and, well, food.

Number one rule for you: Make sure you have the time to help them and you’re not rushing. The first few times they assist you, they’re not going to know what to do or how to do it!

Here’s a breakdown of age-appropriate tasks:

Age 3 to 4

  • Put them in front of the sink with a big bowl filled with water, a vegetable brush and a colander. Let them scrub fruit and vegetables.
  • Tear lettuce for a salad.
  • Pull herbs off of stalks (like rosemary, thyme, cilantro).
  • Place already-measured dry ingredients and liquids into a bowl.
  • Knead dough (or a piece of the dough).
  • Cut cookies with a cookie cutter.

Age 4 to 5

  • Cut soft fresh herbs, like parsley, with dull scissors.
  • Fill celery stalks or top crackers with soft spreads.
  • Grease pans.
  • Peel tangerines and oranges (you start it for them first).

Age 5 to 6

  • Cut orange sections, bananas and other soft fruit with a plastic knife.
  • Set the table (except for glassware).
  • Measure ingredients with a cup or spoon.
  • Crack and peel hard-boiled eggs.

Age 7 to 8

  • Beat eggs with a manual (not electric!) egg beater
  • Organize ingredients for a recipe.
  • Roll out dough.

Age 8 to 9

  • Peel carrots and potatoes.
  • Make simple recipes, like a vinaigrette.
  • Help plan the meal.
  • Make a salad.

Age 10 to 12

  • Use a microwave oven.
  • Use a blender, electric hand mixer or other small appliance.
  • Chop fruits and vegetables with supervision.
  • Open cans.
  • Use an oven with supervision.
  • Shred cheese.

RELATED: Why Cooking With Your Kids Is Great

Kids will usually eat what they’ve helped prepare, so you might get them to try some new and different foods. But most important you’ll get a chance to really be with them—and that’s a memory you’ll both cherish!

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