Cooking with Kids
Children love to help in the kitchen and it’s a great way to learn about healthy eating. Here are some tips to help make it a success.
- Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment before you start.
- Always wash your hands before and after handling food.
- Keep your mouth away from food during preparation.
- Use a separate cutting board for raw meat.
- Use caution when handling knives.
- Wear closed toe shoes.
- Walk in the kitchen and avoid fooling around.
- Be careful around hot appliances.
- Tie long hair back.
- Clean up and put everything away when you are finished.
- When working with young children, have them assist by gathering cooking ingredients, passing materials, and watching the preparation.
- Engage young children by telling them what you are doing, asking them to identify food, and asking for their ideas for the next step.
- Make a poster with the rules on it and read rules with children before cooking.
- Ask the children to demonstrate kitchen safety.
- Have small groups of two or three children helping at a time.
Two and three year olds are learning to use the large muscles in their arms and can help with these activities:
- Wiping table tops
- Moving pre-measured ingredients from one place to another
- Playing with utensils such as mixing spoons, spatulas and other soft items
- Rinsing and tearing lettuce and salad greens
- Scrubbing and dipping vegetables and fruits
- Mixing ingredients (use an extra large bowl to contain mess)
- Kneading dough and simple shaping
- Putting trash in the garbage can
Four and five year olds are learning to control smaller muscles in their fingers. Offer experiences such as:
- Setting the table
- Mashing soft fruits (bananas) and cooked vegetables with a fork
- Forming rounds shapes with hands
- Measuring ingredients
- Peeling loose-skinned oranges and hard-cooked eggs
- Beating eggs with a whisk