Do you have a young chef on your hands? Maybe a toddler that’s eager to help? The kitchen shouldn’t be off limits. Inviting your kids into the kitchen teaches valuable skills (like time management) while introducing your kids to new foods. If you have a picky eater, studies have shown that kids who help prepare their food are more likely to try new foods. Not sure where to start? Here are some activities your kids can help with.
Produce is a great learning tool for younger children and a healthy place to pique your child’s interest.
- At the store, let you child pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try, then show them how to prepare it and eat it.
- Toddlers and young children can easily help wash, scrub, and dry fruits and vegetables.
- Younger children make great salad sous chefs by tearing and mixing leafy greens.
- Once your child has graduated to more advanced tasks, have them stir ingredients or measure dried ingredients (such as pasta).
- Kids also love to use their hands – let them help roll, form, and shape things like meatballs whenever you can. You can even have them make fun shapes, so they’re excited to eat it.
- Even something as simple as sprinkling cheese on a final dish can motivate your child to take a bite.
School-aged children who are working on reading and math skills can be a big help in the kitchen.
- Have older children count and collect ingredients for a recipe. Not only does this practice reading and math skills, it helps your child learn his/her way around the kitchen.
- Older children can measure dry and wet ingredients. Have children pour ingredients into a separate dish before adding to the recipe, just in case they add too much.
- Teach your older child how to set a timer, whether it’s a small kitchen timer or the timer on the microwave.
- Older children are usually very eager to learn how to use new appliances. Start with small items (like whisks and potato mashers) and work your way up to things like mixers and can openers.
Getting your kids started in the kitchen may seem overwhelming and messy (yes, there will be a mess), but with some practice, they will soon be making side dishes and lunches for themselves. You may even expand their palates in the process!