Both my girls love to cook! They are 5 and 8 and both of them can cook better than some full grown women. It all started with them helping me in the kitchen. Simple tasks at first and as their skill levels have grown they have been able to do more and more.
Cooking with your kids in the kitchen helps them develop fine motor skills. Here are a few simple things your kids can start out helping you with in the kitchen:
- Buttering a piece of toast
- Use a plastic knife to cut up a banana
- Putting peanut butter and raisins on a piece of celery
- Cut lettuce for a salad with a plastic knife
- Stir in milk and cheese while they help you make Mac & Cheese
- Pour ingredients into the mixer while they help you make cookies
Learning to cook also helps them gain confidence and self esteem as they master each task. Much like learning to play baseball or dance it takes practice and coordination to become familiar with how to do it well. As their skill level grows so will their confidence. Once they have mastered some of the basic skills, here are some ideas for them to try next:
- Putting bread in and out of the toaster
- Use a potato peeler to peel carrots, potatoes, apples
- Use an apple slicer to core and slice an apple
- Learn to use the microwave, make simple things like hot chocolate, instant oatmeal
- Grate cheese with a cheese grater
- Learning to crack an egg
As always most these tasks require some supervision but it is a great way for them to learn. They can continue to progress and improve on their kitchen skills. My 8 year old can now make just about anything from a box, I just help her turn on and off the stove or oven. But she also makes recipes from scratch, she has even tackled and successfully made complex dishes. Sure some things are a total flop due to her reading the recipe wrong or forgetting something. But each time she learned and she really loves doing it.
My 5 year old is my helper in the kitchen, every recipe she is looking for the “parts” that she can help with. She loves to make her own scrambled eggs. She cracks the eggs, whisks them, salt and peppers them (I turn on the stove top) she pours them into the pan and stirs them while they cook. She then has me take them off the stove, turn off the stove and take them out of the pan for her. But you should see her smile ear to ear as she eat the eggs she made “all by herself” with a little help from Mom.
Here are some cookbooks and kitchen tools that your kids might enjoy if they show an interest in cooking.