My kids love to help me in the kitchen. Sometimes it makes my job harder – and sometimes it’s just a downright awful mess. Even so, I always enjoy it. It’s a really fun way for us to spend some extra time together and also teach them some life skills that they’ll (hopefully) be able to use as adults.
With trial and error, I’ve learned some great ways for my kids to help me in the kitchen and also some easy and delicious recipes that my kids actually eat!
Tips and Tricks
Plan ahead. Before you call your kids into the kitchen, have your recipe printed out and make sure you have all the ingredients available and assembled. Grab a stool for them to stand on so they can reach the counter and be sure to point out the dangerous items they shouldn’t touch. Finally, be sure the kids have on clothes that can get messy (because they will!), tie back long hair, and make sure everyone washes up!
Find age-appropriate jobs for your kids. I was shocked when my five-year-old cracked an egg more cleanly than I ever have! I don’t know where she learned to do it, but she’s great at it, so that’s always her job. My son is great at mixing and measuring, so he takes on that duty, and I’ve even let him start cutting some ingredients with a butter knife. Younger kids are great at mixing ingredients together and dumping ingredients into the bowl. For really little kiddos, sometimes it’s enough to give them an empty bowl and a wooden spoon. When they were little, my kids were happy just to be in the kitchen with me, so I would stick them in the high chair and give them a bowl, a spoon, and a few Cheerios or marshmallows for them to stir and they loved it.
Talk to them. While you’re cooking, explain why you’re adding certain ingredients or mixing them together. For example, yeast helps bread rise, sugar makes food sweet, etc. You can also throw in a math lesson by explaining how to measure ingredients.
Everyone cleans up! When you’re done, enlist your kids in the cleanup process. Have them sweep the floor, wipe counters, put ingredients away, load the dishwasher, etc. Not only does this help you, but it also teaches responsibility!
I’ve made each of these recipes with my kids and not only do they taste great, but they also have lots of steps that kids can help with.
Share your favorite kid-friendly recipe with us in the comments! And for more ideas, check out our Pinterest page, Cooking with Kids.