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.
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!
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.
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
table (except for glassware).
ingredients with a cup or spoon.
Crack and peel hard-boiled eggs.
Age 7 to 8
eggs with a manual (not electric!) egg beater
ingredients for a recipe.
Age 8 to 9
carrots and potatoes.
simple recipes, like a vinaigrette.
plan the meal.
Age 10 to 12
blender, electric hand mixer or other small appliance.
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!