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Get Those Kids Cooking by Shannon Lakey

Many parents wonder when is a good age to get children helping in the kitchen and when is too early to start cooking. Most parents worry children will get hurt, or bored of the idea of helping in the kitchen and this is far from the case. Children are curious little beings and are always interested in what Mom or Dad are always doing. Whether it be cutting up an apple to preparing spaghetti for dinner. The answer is children can start helping out in the kitchen at the age of two years old. By helping wash the fruits or vegetables, this is a great sensory for them. They can also help carry unbreakable dishes to the dinner table. These simple tasks build motor skills in their arms.

Getting children helping in the kitchen also builds such confidence. The ability of letting them help out, will put a smile on their face as well as yours. Other skills children gain by helping in the kitchen are math skills. By counting the number of cups to measure, or how many teaspoons a recipe calls for. Cooking with others can also teach kitchen safety, such as not touching a hot stove and being careful with knives. Learning how to pour is another skill to learn in the kitchen as well. 

Children two and up can help in the kitchen. This teaches Social/Emotional skills, such as confidence, following a recipe and being able to pour and mix ingredients together. Physical Development, with hand-eye coordination, chopping and spreading. Cognitive Development, such as problem solving and creativity as well as Language Development by counting, watching the ingredients change color and talking about the process. For example, when frying meat and watching the chicken change from pink to white. 

By getting children cooking at an early age they are exploring with all of their senses. Touch, taste, hearing and smell.

Some easy jobs for children in the kitchen would be, washing fruit, helping rinse off the dishes, adding spices and other ingredients to the dish. Mixing batter, ripping lettuce, helping assemble a pizza. These jobs will help your child feel important in the kitchen

 Here at the Learning Tree, in the School Age classroom children 5 years old and up prepare some tasty treats and dishes.  These children are cutting with knives, cracking eggs, helping count, mix and pour. Cooperating with each other to work as a team to complete the task for that day. Some things they have made are yogurt cake, pizza, carrot muffins, pretzels, and many more. Most of the kids say they love cooking days because it’s fun and a good time. 

Don’t be afraid to get your child cooking, start today!