As all of us strive to balance home, family, work from the confines of our home, here are some age-appropriate ways kids can help in the kitchen.
We have all heard the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In so many ways the Coronavirus outbreak is inviting us to rediscover and renew our everyday life. There are challenges and also new opportunities!
I was thinking that the stay-at-home order will provide greater opportunity to do more blogging, to do more artwork, to do more reading; but after dusting, sweeping, mopping, cooking, washing, laundry, ironing and other household chores, opening the laptop or phone is the last thing on my mind. When there are seniors and/or kids at home, there is an added level of care that is required in all the tasks + time to engage them. Online classes, assignments, and the regular office work that needs to be done.
Yesterday our internet stopped working (Scary in these times…I know!). When we called the service provider, he was, of course, working from home and as we both stayed on the call while figuring out the configuration, I could hear the kid being impatient for his daddy’s attention.
Quarantine or lockdown can be overwhelming with no help, no school, no office, no outdoor activity; but it doesn’t need to.
I want to take this opportunity to share a few kid-friendly age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen. While in quarantine, engaging children itself is a full-time task. But it doesn’t always need to be separate from the household chores. Kitchen and dining area provide ample activities where kids can help and it is also a great way to introduce them to healthy food.
When can kids start helping in the kitchen?
Whether you have a toddler or a senior, kids of all ages from 2 years up are ready to help out with simple things around home.
In the list below I am starting with 5years and up as at 5, they can start to be independent in some tasks like setting the table mats etc. Below 5, you need to assist/supervise closely, especially in the kitchen.
Kids in the Kitchen
A list of activities where kids can help in the kitchen, sorted by age.
Ages: 5 and up (younger kids will need assistance)
With grocery trips being very limited (and best avoided) during the quarantine, making cookies at home is a healthy way to stock up on snacking options! With younger kids, you can do the “hard” work of mixing all ingredients and the kids can play with the cookies dough! There are only a few things more satisfying than rolling up cookie dough and licking the bowl after having dropped them on the baking tray :-). Great way to engage kids. Have them choose their own flavors and combinations. If they want to add some sprinkles or Gems (M&Ms), so be it!
Here are some easy kid-friendly recipes that are fun to make and delicious to eat:
- Eggless Chocolate Cookies
- Marie Biscuit Pudding — No cooking required
- Nutella and Oatmeal Cookies — No bake recipe
- Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies — 3 kinds of chocolates! Need I say more? 😀
- Orange and Almond Eggless Cookies
Kitchen and Dining Area Chores where kids can help
There are plenty of kitchen “jobs” where kids can give a hand. Plus point, having them in the kitchen might actually encourage them to be more willing to try new things that are being cooked in which they helped out! Use your discretion, below are just some tasks that can be explored:
Kitchen tasks for Pre-K to KG (3-5 years old)
- Prep work:
- Drying washed vegetables with a kitchen towel or drying salad in the spinner (watch them go whooooo)
- Mashing bananas with plastic fork
- Setting up the mats and putting their plates away
Kitchen tasks for 1st to 5th Grade (6-10 years old)
- Prep Work
- Wash and dry vegetables and fruits
- With a dull knife, kids 8 and above can even cut some soft vegetables like cucumber, tomato, or boiled and cooled potato.
- Sorting groceries
- Setting up table and putting plates away
- Help in putting some of the cleaned dishes in their places like plastic ware or cutlery etc. (In India, dishwashers are not common; but where applicable kids can help empty out dishwasher.)
- Wipe down dining table.
Kitchen tasks for 6th to 8th Grade children (11 to 13 years old)
- Prep Work:
- Much more involved prep work like washing, drying, peeling, and cutting vegetables (be careful with knife and only if you feel comfortable).
- Measuring out ingredients.
- Filling up water bottles.
- Cleaning the fridge
- Loading the dishwasher/rinsing used dishes and putting away cleaned dishes.
- Wiping kitchen counters
14 years and above kids can do most tasks around the kitchen with little or no assistance/supervision. Explore together what things your children enjoy most in the kitchen, give them the responsibility for everyday breakfast — to check the recipe, if all ingredients are there and to also cook with you or by their own. If online school starts early, this can be their weekend thing!
Gardening/Growing your own food 101!
If you already have kitchen plants at home, involve (and slowly let them own it) the children in watering and upkeep of them like weeding, aerating the soil etc. You will be surprised how much children can learn from gardening especially when they are responsible for it!
Plant some new ones and encourage them to keep a journal to track the plants. Maybe create a lesson around things that a plant needs to grow or plant life cycle. A few kitchen plants that grow quickly are spinach, fenugreek, spring onions and garlic from their bulbs, dill, and mint.
While in this post, I am just listing down cookie (+ one pudding) recipe that kids can make, this section gave me the idea to do a post with a round-up of recipes that kids can cook! Quarantine or no-quarantine, it is always a great idea to involve kids in cooking. So look out for that post in the coming weeks!
Connect with me
If you have more suggestions for how to engage children in kitchen, I would really love to know. Leave a comment below, or tag your picture with #weekendkitchen on instagram or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. Or join our newest journey into Recipe Videos.
Would love to start a conversation, share recipes, cooking experiences and food stories from India and around the world.