So we’ve talked about the importance of involving children early in the food process and teaching them about nutrition. Now what?
It’s time to get them cooking. Maybe you already done so. Maybe not. Either way it is not always easy finding tasks for your children in the kitchen if you don’t know what tasks are age appropriate. Identifying what children can do at what age is important so cooking with them can be fun but safe.
Kitchen Tasks by Age
- Anything that involves stirring, dumping, pouring, and mashing
- Begin teaching basics of food safety (washing hands)
- Rinsing vegetables/fruits with a brush or with hands
- Cut soft fruits/veggies with a plastic knife
- Spreading jams, peanut butter, or frosting
- Rolling out dough
- Using cookie cutters
- Decorate cakes, cookies, or pancakes with fruit faces
- Use electric blender
- Microwave eggs, butter, or chocolate
- Use a food processor
- Measure ingredients (1 cup vs. 1/2 cup)
- Begin to read simple recipes
- Knead dough
- Double a recipe
- Use the stove/oven
- Prepare quick meals like sandwiches, soup, or pizza
- Use most knives to cut vegetables
- Operate kitchen appliances (steamer)
- Use all kitchen appliances
- Understand food safety
- Operate a grill
- Prepare meals for the family
- Follow/modify recipes
- Use a vegetable knife safely
Although, this is just a small list to get you started it will help get you thinking about what is and isn’t appropriate for kids.
Below is a recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Quick and Easy Cookbook as an example of applying the above list in your kitchen.
Quick and Easy Potato Pancakes
Serves 6 Kids ages 10-12; 13-16 can cut or double the recipe
Ingredients: Kids ages 6-9 can measure some of these ingredients themselves
2 cups of applesauce 1/2 c. flour 1/2 c. milk 3 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 3 cups shredded raw potatoes
1.) Prepare non-stick skillet over medium heat. Kids ages 10-12; 13-16 can do this
2.) In a medium sized bowl mix the flour, milk, baking soda & powder, and the eggs together. Stir until smooth. Kids ages 2-5 can dump, stir, and mix these ingredients
3.) Mix in the potatoes 1 cup at a time. Kids ages 2-5 can mix the potatoes
4.) Pour 1/4 of pancake mixture into skillet. Wait until the pancake starts to bubble on the sides. Flip. Kids ages 6-9 and up can do this. Younger children need supervision.
5.) Repeat with rest of mixture.
6.) Serve with applesauce or maple syrup. Kids ages 2-5 can do this.
7.) Enjoy! Kids and adults of all ages can do this.
More information about age appropriate tasks can be found at Thirty Homemade Days: Kids Cooking Camp http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/2014/06/kids-cooking-camp-home/#_a5y_p=1953787
& Eatright.org Toddler and Preschooler Tasks in the Kitchen