I think the majority of parents have at least one of these, and if you don’t, can you please share your secret?
One proven way to get kids to try new foods is to get them into the kitchen. Kids are more apt to try what they make. Pretty simple, right?
Even the littlest ones (ages 2-3) can pull up a stool, roll up their sleeves, and help wash fruits and veggies, tear lettuce, or help assemble a sandwich. Kids as young as 10 (recognizing your child’s maturity) can get started making basic meals like pasta or eggs.
It is of the utmost importance, of course, that parents explain how to be safe in the kitchen. Show younger kids what is hot in the kitchen, how to use a potholder, and where the fire extinguisher is located. Be prepared for some messes – clean hands, aprons, and even a towel on the floor is always a good idea.
But the messes can be worthwhile: When you get your kids in the kitchen, you are both showing them cooking is fun and providing them with a life-long skill. Bonus!
Here is a suggested list of kid-friendly kitchen tasks (please note – this is just a guide and it is critical that parents recognize how comfortable your kids are in the kitchen and what they can handle):
1. Tear lettuce and other herbs
2. Wash dishes (you might need to do some touch-up work, but they can have fun with a sink full of soap bubbles and a sponge!)
3. Wash produce
4. Cut an apple with an apple cutter (with Mom or Dad’s assistance for the littler ones)
7. Scoop out cookie dough
8. Assemble a sammie
9. Help set, serve, and clear table
10. Knead dough
11. Mash potatoes, turnips, sweet potatoes, and other cooked root veggies with a hand masher
12. Help plan a meal
13. Crack and separate eggs
14. Measure out ingredients for a recipe like flour, salt, sugar, spices, etc. (great math practice to boot!)
15. Peel veggies
Ages 7 -10:
16. Grate (carefully!) cheeses and vegetables
17. Chop and slice using a small paring knife (again, carefully and with supervision – know your child!)
18. Use the toaster
Ages 10-12 can independently (once they have mastered the above tasks):
19. Use the stove to prepare basic meals like eggs, pasta, and pancakes.
20. Use the oven to bake cookies, brownies, muffins, and simple casseroles.
Ready to find kid-friendly recipes or want more, wonderful ways to get your little ones in the kitchen? Check out Rachael’s nonprofit organization, Yum-o!, empowering kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking!