Get Kids Involved at Any Age

Cook Things They Like
  • My kids start baking with me first. They are always more interested in preparing cookies than they are baking chicken and the rewards are immediate.
  • Once they master some of their favorites, you can introduce new foods and new cooking methods. They are more likely to try eating something they made than a surprise at dinner time.

Give Them ‘Destruction’ Jobs
  • Cracking eggs, opening boxes and dumping things are all the rage for the youngest cooks. When my daughter was two she would beg to be my dumper. It was the perfect job for her coordination level.
  • As they’re learning, have kids crack eggs into a bowl (something we should all be doing anyway) so you can check for shells before they’re added to the mix.
  • Stirring with a wooden spoon is another great job to keep busy hands busy. It can be messy at first with flour and other loose powders flying out of the bowl under the encouragement of a beginning cook. I tell the kids, I get the first twelve stirs and they can do the rest. We count together and they make sure I don’t go over twelve. Just this much mixing moistens the batter enough that it will stay in the bowl for their turn.
Bring Them Up to Your Level
  • Move a chair or bar stool so kids can see what’s happening on the counter. This helps them feel a part of the process rather than an observer.
  • Roll cookies at the kitchen table.
  • Turn on the oven light so they can check in on the food without opening the oven door.
Allow Them to Push Your Buttons
  • Kids get a kick out of turning on the hand mixer, blender or food processor. Just take a moment to explain to them how it works, proper safety precautions, and that they should turn it off when you say to. 

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