Kids Take Over The Kitchen
Age Appropriate Kitchen Tasks to Get Kids Cooking

By About Chef Austin Chef Austin  

Kids can do more than people give them credit for. If your child can use an iPad, they can use a measuring cup. Getting kids in the kitchen at a young age will not only get them curious about food but will also teach them about the important life skill of cooking. Here are some ways kids can help in the kitchen (and hopefully not completely destroy it). 

Babies & Toddlers 

The wee ones may not be able to chop, mix, or measure but, they do like to watch mom and dad cook in the kitchen. Place them in a safe spot in the kitchen where they can watch you move around. Even little babies and toddlers like to smell the food you're cooking, love the loud noises they can make, and enjoy feeling the different textures of the ingredients or tools - its a sensory experience for them. We gave our baby some wooden spoons to play with and she loved it! 

Preschool | 3 - 5 years old

When the kids are around the pre-school age, they're usually ready to start helping with small tasks. Baking recipes are great first recipes to try with small children since these types of recipes call for mostly mixing prepared ingredients. Here are a few suggestions on how your kids can help in the kitchen:

  • Adding & stirring ingredients in a bowl
  • Turning on the electric mixer and watching as it mixes
  • Washing fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Tearing herbs, like parsley or cilantro, off the stem
  • Tasting recipes as they go - checking for the 4 flavors of salty, sweet, sour, & bitter
  • Sprinkling on finishing ingredients such as salt, pepper, grated cheese, chopped herbs, etc.
  • Have them read out & identify the recipe ingredients
  • Helping dry and put away clean dishes and cooking tools

Kids | 6 - 9 years old

  • Measuring out ingredients in measuring cups and tablespoons
  • Counting out ingredients like eggs or tablespoons of butter
  • Cracking eggs 
  • Chopping and slicing vegetables (with kid-safe knives from Curious Chef)
  • Reading through the recipe and following directions
  • Turning on the oven and setting the temperature with adult supervision
  • Rolling out cookie dough or pie dough
  • Kneading bread dough
  • Pouring out waffle or pancake batter into the pan
  • Stirring a pot on the stove (with supervision)
  • Using a can opener
  • Setting the table for dinner (in case you forgot: forks on the left, knife on the right followed by the spoon!)
  • Washing & drying dishes 
Kids | 10+
  • Learning to use kitchen knives to slice and chop
  • Peeling fruits and veggies with a peeler
  • Making meatballs or patties for hamburgers
  • Cooking with Mom or Dad at the stove
  • Tasting recipes for proper seasoning - does it need more salt or pepper?
  • Operating a hand mixer or stand mixer on their own
  • Making a simple recipe start to finish
  • Putting groceries away 
Take these suggestions with a grain of salt - your child may be able to take on more tasks at an earlier age or may need some more time in the kitchen before performing some trickier tasks. 

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About Chef Austin

About the Author: 

Chef Austin Merath is Everything Kitchen's Culinary Wizard, Kitchen-Gadget Reviewer, and New-Product Tester. He studied under chefs in College of the Ozarks' Culinary Program. It's his job to make sure you choose the kitchen tools that are right for you by testing the best we have to offer. When not cooking, Austin is tinkering with computers or exploring the Ozarks with his wife Amy. Click here for his full bio.



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