Why cook with kids in the kitchen?

Involving kids in the kitchen can improve self-esteem, increase their sense of responsibility and build math and reading skills. Adult help in the kitchen keeps kids safe. The following ideas are ways to have fun cooking with a child at many ages.

How can preschoolers help in the kitchen?

Preschool aged children (2 to 4-year-olds) can help in many ways. Younger children can wipe down tabletops, wash fruits and vegetables, tear lettuce and carry ingredients. Older children can knead dough, mix and pour ingredients and put things in the garbage. Children can also mash soft foods, peel oranges or hard-boiled eggs and set the table.

How can elementary school children help in the kitchen?

Elementary school children (5 to 12-year-olds) can help with more advanced tasks.  Younger children can measure out ingredients, use a peeler to peel fruit and vegetables, crack open eggs, open cans with a can opener and check the temperature of meat with a food thermometer.  Older children may be able to boil pasta, use the microwave and oven and cut up vegetables.

 What do you think?

1) What are your favorite meals and snacks to prepare with kids?

2) What are your tips for working with kids in the kitchen?

3) What have your experiences been working with kids in the kitchen?


United States Department of Health & Human Services, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 

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