Do your kids like to help in the kitchen? Cooking is a great learning experience for children! Today I want to share some of my best tips & tricks to use when you have a little helper and some of the skills that can be learned & practiced in the kitchen!
The most important thing I’ve learned when cooking with a little helper is to lower your expectations when starting out. Having a little helper most likely means that things will not go exactly according to plan. Go into the experience knowing that it is going to be messy. Flour will end up on the counter and floor instead of in the bowl. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need. Most parents can probably agree, doing anything with a small child takes longer than you’d think! Be prepared, all those cucumbers your child is helping chop will probably end up in their mouth instead of on the plate. Embrace the chaos and enjoy the moment! Before you know it, your child will probably exceed your expectations, and you might even get out of cooking dinner!
To keep stress low, I like to set boundaries for helping in the kitchen. Decide what you are comfortable having your children help with before you get started. Here are some guidelines we typically use in our kitchen for our 3 year old:
One of the best tools I can recommend using with a little helper is a learning tower! A learning tower is a platform stool that allows children to reach counter height. They typically have a railing to keep children from falling off. My son started using his learning tower around 18 months old and we use it almost every day. If your child is tall enough, a Bannor Toys step stool would be perfect too!
My son loves to fit the part and wear an apron in the kitchen! I recently added to his collection with a couple of fun summery printed aprons from Target. They are part of the seasonal Sun Squad line and only $5! I have seen them in store and online.
If you think about it, the kitchen is truly a learning lab! The skills practiced will vary widely across different age ranges. Here are some of the skills my 3 year old is currently practicing:
I would love to hear about your experiences with little helpers in the kitchen. Do you have a favorite recipe to make with your children? Leave a comment below and let me know!
I just asked my son about his favorite thing to help make in the kitchen and he said “pie!” which I totally forgot he helped me make for this past Thanksgiving! Even if mom brain prevents you from remembering, they will! This is also why taking photos is important!