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Kids in the Kitchen

A guide for cultivating little cooks

by Boston Mamas  |  3563 views  |  0 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Boston Mamas writer Michelle Stern of What’s Cooking  offers this handy guide for involving kids in the kitchen:

Since I teach cooking classes for children, people ask me all the time about what their kids can really do in the kitchen. They find it hard to believe that their toddler can actually help, without causing complete chaos. The following guide highlights some of the age-appropriate cooking skills that children typically can handle. Of course, use your discretion depending on how much experience your child has had experimenting in the kitchen.

Children who are 2- to 3-years-old can:
  • Rinse vegetables or fruits
  • Tear large pieces of lettuce
  • Stir
  • Pour with assistance
  • Select which ingredients they want to taste or use
  • Recognize changes to ingredients during the cooking process
  • Sort ingredients
  • Help identify ingredients in the grocery store
  • Group utensils when setting the table.

Children who are 4- to 6-years-old can do tasks listed above and:
  • Pour
  • Mix
  • Count and do simple measurements
  • Cut with a plastic or butter knife
  • Crack eggs
  • Start to follow recipe cards and symbols
  • Create their own recipes, and draw them on cards
  • Identify images or diagrams of ingredients on your grocery list
  • Set the table

Seven- to 12-year-olds can do everything listed above and:
  • Write your shopping list and read it to you at the store
  • Help select which recipes the family will share at mealtime
  • Read and follow recipes
  • Work with a heat source (supervised)
  • Cut with a sharper knife (with instruction)
  • Create their own recipes and write the steps
  • Help to wash dishes

When you prepare meals for your family, involve your kids in the kitchen. Kids will enjoy the quality time they spend with you, and you will get a personal assistant!

About the Author

Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned publisher, designer, and freelance writer/editor. She is the editor of and the artist behind

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