kids in the kitchen

8 Ways to Get Your Kids Helping in the Kitchen

The kitchen can be a dangerous place, with appliances, sharp knives, and hot pans all around. But with your help, your kids can start to learn how to cook and bake as early as age 4—and as they get older, they’ll gain skills that will help them survive in the real world! And if you’re looking for easy kitchen jobs or tasks that kids can help with, here are 8 ways to get your kids helping in the kitchen.

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1) Chopping garlic

Cutting garlic by hand can seem a little tricky at first, but once you’ve gotten a feel for it, it’s an easy kitchen task that can be done safely by older kids. (Just make sure they’re wearing gloves and are well  supervised)

2) Adding spices

Spices are an easy way for kids to get involved in meals and help with cooking. Not only do spices add to meals, but it can also be a great way to teach about healthy foods. Teach your child which spices go well together as they add it to their meal. Teach them about different cultures and how different flavors from around the globe are incorporated into every day food. This way, they’ll learn not only about tasting new things, but also history and culture!

3) Mixing ingredients

If you don’t feel comfortable having your child work around heat or sharp knives, try to engage them with mixing or folding ingredients together, then having them sprinkle on salt or pepper at the end. While it may be tempting to take over the task, give your child the opportunity to do it themselves and learn from doing.  A step stool for proper working height at the counter is a must have and consider holding the mixing bowl for your kid or even placing it on a towel for added stability during mixing. 

4) Squeezing citrus fruits

This is a simple kitchen task that even young children can do. For little ones who are still learning how to grip and squeeze, squeeze a citrus fruit over your sink while they hold it. Once they’re old enough, kids can also add juice from citrus fruits when baking cakes and muffins. Consider softening the fruit first by pressing down while rolling it on the counter or make a cut or two on the inside of the fruit to help aid in the squeeze. 

Kookist Tip! – For kids that resist drinking plain water, invite them to punch up their hydration with a squeeze of a lemon, lime, or even a cucumber wedge. They may take to the drink more readily and feel a sense of pride that they made it their own. 

5) Cutting vegetables

Cutting vegetables is a great task for older kids. Since knives are involved, it can be a bit more dangerous than other tasks, so use caution and make sure your kids know how to hold a knife properly and keep a careful eye on the placement of their hands and fingers. In fact, it can be a good idea to have them practice with a butter knife on something that is easily cut until they get comfortable (a rolled up tortilla or bread is a good choice) before using a sharp blade on hard or wet fruits or vegetables. No matter what you choose, give them some pointers and watch over them as they  get started.

Keeping your knives sharp and ensuring your kids have a stable, solid cutting surface will halep make the task easier and more pleasant. 

6) Stirring things together

Stirring wet ingredients together while baking can be a very rewarding task for youngsters, especially when the items are ready to eat! 

Begin by letting them stir together ingredients in a bowl or mix some pancake batter before they’re old enough to do it independently. Then after they’ve grown comfortable doing it themselves, consider introducing the idea of a stand or hand held mixer and demonstrate that, when used safely, the electrice mixer can make the task much faster and more efficient. 

Its important that you never let your kids use any kitchen appliance without supervision as accidents do happen and they can be quite damaging to little fingers and hands. 

7) Serving drinks & Setting the table

The fastest way to make your kids feel like they’re part of dinner prep is having them help you serve drinks. When it comes time for dinner, have them set out glasses and plates for each family member before sitting down. You can teach them how to fill each glass with ice—or make it a game where everyone has to guess how much juice or water is going into each glass.

You can add to the enjoyment by getting your child involved with helping to choose what will drinks will be offered and even fancying up the beverages by prefilling pitchers or adding fun elements to the drink  options like sliced fruit, mini umbrellas, or straws.

8) Tossing Salads

Tossing salad is a great way to teach kids the difference between tossing, mixing, and stirring. Not only will they have fun helping out, but they’ll also learn useful kitchen skills while developing hand-eye coordination. This is an easy job for kids of all ages to do, and one that will certainly save you some time during meal prep.  Plus we’ve found kids are more likely to try the salad if they’ve had a hand in making it.  

In our house – the chefs are allowed to taste each dish and ingredient during preparation. It helps to make things fun and teaches kids how flavors come together.

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