Cooking With Kids
5 Ways To Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen
- Written By
- Aliyya Mattos & Cheryl Chretien, Cloud Montessori
Children are naturally curious, and building a family culture around food preparation can be enjoyable, establish healthy habits, and eventually make your life easier.
While getting kids involved in the kitchen may bring some spills and surprises, it's okay to have fun! Leave perfection behind; involving your children in the work of daily life builds their confidence, and they will gain meaningful experience and skills.
2. Build Transferable Skills (& Self Confidence)
Using a mortar and pestle is great for building strength in the hands (which will help with handwriting) and can also be a wonderful sensory experience. Grind up herbs, eggshells for the garden (your child can peel the hard-boiled egg first), dried spices, garlic, nuts, graham crackers for your pie crust, candy for peppermint bark, and so forth.
3. Independent Whisking, Mashing, and Slicing
Using a hand whisk or hand masher, your child can independently take on a bowl of eggs, soft fruit, or pancake batter and go to town! Mash avocado on toast, bananas for making bread, or cooked pumpkin for a Thanksgiving pie. Kids can use an egg slicer to cut strawberries, cheese, or boiled eggs, and you can model for your child how to properly hold . Offer soft foods like bananas, avocados, cooked carrots, or zucchini to cut in small slices or shapes, and watch your child beam with pride as they master the technique.
4. Creative Inspiration
The world around you offers lots of inspiration - are there new items at your farmer's market or grocery shelves in line with the changing seasons, or a special tradition that your family likes to celebrate each year? Preparing food can be a great way to include children in your family story and celebration. For example, you could follow up a performance of "The Nutcracker" with sugar plum treats and these fun cupcake toppers! There are lots of great books to pique your child's interest in cooking too, like "Julia, Child" with French-inspired treats, "Dragons Love Tacos" to drum up excitement for prepping Taco Tuesday, or "Pizza Day" with a sweet father-son duo.
5. Last, but not least...Cleaning up!
Children should be engaged in the clean-up process, even if it takes some time and patience on the parents' end! Even a toddler can use a spray bottle and cloth to clean up spills on the floor or counter. You can fill a bucket or large bowl with soapy water, so your child can begin using a sponge to clean some small dishes and slowly give your child more responsibilities as their abilities expand.