Kitchen Adventures for Children

Kitchen Adventures for Children

Teaching children how to cook

The kitchen is a magical place for many children. The adults in their lives spend a lot of time in the kitchen peering mysteriously steaming pots, mixing things up and conjuring up delicious dishes. It's only natural that little ones would like to help!

Here are a few tips for safely allowing children to tackle tasks in the kitchen. Help them improve their motor skills, promote social skills and strengthen their self-confidence by giving them small tasks they can do to help out.

Where should I start?
Cooking begins with shopping. Teach your kids where to find certain foods in the supermarket, and show them how to check whether fruits or veggies are ripe.

Find your way around the kitchen
Good preparation is everything! That's why it's worth setting up your own work station at a comfortable height for your children. Show your children where bowls, spoons and other utensils are stored. You can also teach your children how and where to store food, whether in the fridge (like milk) or in dark, cool places (like potatoes).

First things first
First, you wash your hands thoroughly before you start preparing your food. Take off your jewellery or watch, tie up your hair and put on an apron to protect your clothes from stains. If you happen to have a chef's hat, it's time to put it on!

Start safe
Sharp knives do not belong in the inexperienced hands of kiddos, so make sure you have dull knives or knives specially designed for children. Stoves and ovens are also dangerous for small children. Make sure to explain why children should be careful around the stove or oven, so they understand what to look out for.

Choose child-friendly recipes
Kids are easy to help but tend to lose interest quickly, so make sure to choose a dish that isn't too complicated to make. Making starter dishes is a perfect task for little ones! Try making a fruit salad or simple snacks.

Age appropriate tasks:

Age Task
2 years old Wash fruit and vegetables, fetch ingredients, use biscuit cutters
3 years old Help set the table, cut soft foods with a butter knife
4 years old Cut firmer fruit and vegetables, cook (supervised) on the stove (stir, add spices, etc.)
5 years old Peel vegetables, weigh ingredients
6 years old Chop solid ingredients with a knife, prepare simple dishes without help
10 to 12 years old Cook with supervision on the stove, handle raw meat and raw fish

Be prepared for a little mess
Just keep in mind that little ones don't always colour in the lines, but encourage them to help you clean up! Children can wipe down counters, help load the dishwasher, and dispose of waste and recycling, teaching them about all the work that goes into a meal.

Don't be stingy with your time
Rejoice that your children are showing interest in cooking! Your recipes may not always turn out, but with plenty of encouragement and a good attitude, you'll still have a great time cooking together! Don't rush the process and just enjoy the time together.