I was so tired of cooking the same couple of things for Reilly for dinner (Chicken Nuggets, HotDogs, Pizza, Pasta with Butter, etc) while Jason and I enjoyed our fabulously tasty dinners. Finally I decided if he wasn’t going to eat what we were eating he was going to help me cook it! And wouldn’t you know, once I gave him the responsibility and pride of creating something that smelled so yummy, he was dying to taste it. I started really simple with having him help me pick herbs from our garden and cutting up pieces of basil, de-stemming the thyme, picking oregano and rosemary leaves off the stem. We mixed up all those ingredients into some olive oil and marinated some chicken. Had Jason grill it up for us and wouldn’t you know who wanted to try the “Grown Up Chicken” that night? You got it! After he did that and we made some more simple meals that he could help stir and mix with, he became a pro at making salads chopping up cherry tomatoes and mushrooms with his kid friendly, mommy approved knife.
His next accomplishment was carefully using the stove to make eggs, sauté mushrooms and then baking green beans in the oven. I guess my point here is there are so many ways to get our kiddos involved in the kitchen in a safe age appropriate way (and make it fun for them!) Check out Love In An Oven’s Facebook page to see his videos (plenty more to come too) describing his/our recipes, giving tips, and tricks he is learning while cooking and seeing how much fun can be had!
Here are some great Mommy approved, Kid friendly cooking tools that we have benefited from:
•Plastic Measuring Cups (Liquid & Dry)
•Plastic Mixing Bowls (With Slip Resistant Bottoms)
•Plastic Lettuce Knife
•Kid Safe Scissors
•Flexible Cutting Boards
•Nylon Pizza Cutter
•Their Very Own Apron!! (Check out Williams Sonoma for some super cute ones!)
Here are some great tasks for Age Groups of Kiddos In The Kitchen
0 – 18 Months
Let them play with your plastic bowls and adult sized cooking tools, and just chat with them – tell them what your doing and how your doing it. They can smell and touch, taste (when appropriate), and watch!
18 months – 3 years
This is when it starts to get fun depending on their interest level and capability. Granted they will need a lot of supervision and help, and it’ll take you five times as long, it’s memories they’ll cherish and you’ll never forget!
•Pick herbs from the garden and start to take the leaves off the stems
•Tear lettuce and other leaves into pieces
•Use a pastry brush to brush on oil or butter
•Wash fruits vegetables and herbs.
•Help with sprinkling of seasoning.
•They can even help clean up by holding the dust pan or putting silverware into the dishwasher
4 – 5 Years Old
They will still need a bunch of help, but I’m sure, if they are anything like Reilly they will be very
adamant that they can do it… All of the above, plus….
•Cut soft foods with a plastic knife or lettuce knife.
•Roll out and knead pizza or bread dough (or have them help you make no knead bread).
•Juice lemons and limes (remind them not to rub their eyes after!).
•Crack an egg (watch out the first few times!).
•Measure and level dry ingredients with a straight edge.
•Spread butter, peanut butter, mayonnaise ,jelly, etc.…
•Set the timer.
•Peel a cooled hard-boiled egg.
•Set the table.
•Rinse dishes that aren’t too heavy or breakable.
•Spray the countertop with an all-purpose cleaner, then wipe it clean (Reilly LOVES this!).
•Fill the dishwasher soap compartment, and press the “Start” button (They might need help
depending on the size of your soap container).
6 to 9 Years Old
At this age, your kiddos may or may not have learned a few cooking prep basics, and are ready for more complicated tasks, and to try out some kitchen equipment, if so…. (Although only you will know when your child is ready to use— adult knives, the oven, and the stove — all by themselves.)
Since kids start to learn to read around this age, it’s great to read recipes together to have them read parts of it out load to you.
In addition to all the above tasks, kids can begin to:
•Use a small paring knife (That will be Ry’s Christmas present!).
•Cook with you at the stove.
•Use a can opener(I have to help steady the can).
•Peel fruits and vegetables.
•Grate cheese with a box grater (CAREFULLY!).
•Grease a baking pan.
•Scoop batter into muffin cups.
•Scrape down the mixer bowl.
•Thread food onto skewers.
•Help put groceries away.
•Load and unload the dishwasher (Watch out for those breakables!).
Regardless of how much your kiddo/s can or can not do, it’s just great to have them in the kitchen talking about our days and not watching TV, or playing on iPads, or computers.
HI Guys! I’m Natasha, a lovely mommy in her 30’s. I’m in the most beautiful relationship with my boyfriend, Jason, and together we live in Oconomowoc with our two goofy goldendoodles – Honey & Softy, and my 6 year-old son, the light of my life – Reilly. I’m originally from Dubuque, Iowa, and previously lived on the East Coast for about a decade, but I am so happy to call Lake Country my home. My love of cooking, baking and food started very young with parents who loved to explore new flavors and cultures, as well as having a mom that operated a chocolate shop before I was born. In my free time I absolutely love trying and creating new recipes – mostly sweet, but love to dive into the Asian flavor profiles of the savory dishes. I also love learning about wine, enjoying the arts, practicing yoga, sipping a good cup of coffee and traveling. I fell in love with my boyfriend in the kitchen and I hope I can make you fall in love with the recipes and food knowledge I’ll be sending your way as a contributor for The Lake Country Mom. // Follow her blog, Love in An Oven // Facebook // Instagram