The following post is from Tara of Feels Like Home:
My kid likes to cook. I dare say she loves to cook!
She doesn’t care whether she’s cooking in her play kitchen, or if she’s cooking in my kitchen. She just likes to cook.
Whenever I’m in the kitchen, trying to prepare food, Grace wants to help.
She pushes her Learning Tower up to whatever surface I’m working at, and stands right there next to me. If I’m stirring, she wants to stir. If I’m chopping, she wants to chop.
And while every parent knows that these jobs are easier without the help of a child, I let her help anyway. It builds her self-esteem and her self-confidence, and someday, she’ll actually be a productive helper.
Today, she might flip flour all over me… and the counter… and the floor; but next time, she’ll push it down through the sieve. It’s a work in progress.
10 Ways to Get Small Children Involved in the Kitchen
It’s important to give children jobs they can do (or at least believe they can do) safely. If you guarantee their success in the kitchen now, they’ll take more risks and enjoy cooking later.
Try some or all of the following to get your child involved:
1. Let them to hand you items from a cabinet or drawer and then to put them back.
2. Let them use tools that are similar to yours. I’ve gathered small but real items for her to use — a mini whisk, knives without a sharp edge, small mixing bowls with handles. I don’t give Grace toy utensils when we’re in the real kitchen.
3. Let them put trash in the garbage can.
4. Let them clean up. Give them a spray bottle of water (or water and dish detergent) and a towel.
5. Let them tear or break food into pieces. (This works well with things like spinach, lettuce, and mushrooms.)
6. Let them transfer food from one container to another. Grace loves to put chopped food into a baking dish.
7. Let them rinse or wash tools in the sink. Never give them sharp tools!
8. Let them rinse or wash fruits and vegetables. If you have a salad spinner, this is especially exciting.
9. Let them set and clear the table.
10. Let them make music. If all else fails, give them a few pots, pans, and wooden spoons. They’ll stay busy and let you get some work done!
Remember that your child may have a very short attention span. They may want to play with the magnets and come back to cook several times.
Don’t get frustrated with them; just go with the flow!
How to you include your kids in the kitchen?
Tara spent years smugly believing herself to be in control of her successful life. Not long ago, the Lord upset her cart, humbling Tara with an unexpected pregnancy and a pile of challenges. Thankful that no one is unplanned in the eyes of the Creator, Tara is relishing her time at home, raising Grace and Allison, loving Joe, writing Feels Like Home, designing journals, and encouraging others.