Meals with Help from Kids

Children learn by touching, tasting, feeling, smelling, and listening. They love to help prepare food and cook because they can use all their senses. Children like to eat the foods they help make. Encouraging children to help prepare meals and snacks can build healthy lifestyle skills, creativity and healthy food choices. You are also helping them form good eating behaviors that will last a lifetime. Plan ways your children can help you in the kitchen:

2 year olds can:

  • Wipe tables
  • Hand items to adult to put away (such as after grocery shopping)
  • Place things in trash
  • Tear lettuce or greens
  • Help “read” a cookbook by turning the pages
  • Make “faces” out of pieces of fruits and vegetables
  • Rinse vegetables or fruits
  • Snap green beans

3  year olds can do what a 2 year old can plus:

  • Add ingredients
  • Talk about cooking
  • Scoop or mash potatoes
  • Squeeze citrus fruits
  • Stir pancake batter
  • Knead and shape dough
  • Name and count foods
  • Help assemble a pizza

4 year olds can do what a 3 year old can plus:

  • Peel eggs and some fruit, such as oranges and bananas
  • Set the table
  • Crack eggs
  • Help measure dry ingredients
  • Help make sandwiches and tossed salads

5 year olds can do what a 4 year old can plus:

  • Measure liquids
  • Cut soft fruits with a dull kitchen knife
  • Use an egg beater

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