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5 Fun Ways to Involve Your Child in the Kitchen

The kitchen isn't just a place for cooking; it's also an excellent space for bonding and learning with your child. Studies have shown that involving children in cooking activities not only teaches them valuable life skills but also fosters a love for food and encourages healthy eating habits. And there are so many resources available on how you can get them involved!

Here are five fun ways to involve your child in the kitchen

1. Meal Planning Together:

Sit down with your child and plan meals for the week together. Let them choose a meal or two that they would like to help prepare. Encourage them to pick out nutrient-dense ingredients and experiment with some unfamiliar foods or lean in to trusted favorites. This activity not only empowers your child but also helps them develop decision-making skills.

Use these handy planners with your kids to involve them in the meal planning:

2. Grocery Shopping Buddies:

Take your child along to the grocery store or farmers' market and actively involve them in the shopping process. Give them a list of items to find or let them pick out fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients. For younger kids, you can play a rainbow food hunt, asking them to find foods of specific colors. This can also be an excellent opportunity for language development and exploration. Ask questions, use descriptive words to point out different characteristics of each food, and encourage curiosity or guesses about what a food might taste like based on its appearance, texture, or smell. Additionally, you can teach them about where food comes from and discuss the various ways different foods can be enjoyed.

3. Hands-On Cooking:

Get your child involved in every step of the cooking process, from washing and chopping vegetables to mixing and stirring ingredients. Depending on their age and skill level, assign age-appropriate tasks and supervise them closely. Cooking together not only teaches valuable culinary skills but also encourages teamwork and creativity.

0 to 18 months:

  • Let them observe and tell them what you're doing.

  • Give them safe utensils to play with.

  • Let them smell and touch foods your preparing.

18 mo - 3 years old:

  • Pouring dry/liquid ingredients into bowls.

  • Stirring batter in bowls.

  • Rinsing fruits and veggies and scrubbing potatoes.

4-5 years old:

  • Crack eggs (with your help!)

  • Spreading soft foods like butter or jam.

  • Cut soft foods with a kid safe knife.

6-9 years old:

  • Follow recipes together.

  • Use a small paring knife.

  • Cook with you at the stove.

A girl helps an adult male put together pizzas for dinner
Cooking together teaches cooking skills and promotes teamwork and creativity.
4. Get Creative with Kids in the Kitchen:

Let your child unleash their creativity by decorating dishes and snacks. Provide them with various toppings, sauces, and garnishes, and encourage them to decorate their own pizzas, sandwiches, or cupcakes. Not only is this activity fun and engaging, but it also allows your child to express themselves artistically and take pride in their creations.

5. Play Food Games with Kids:

Turn cooking into a fun and competitive activity by organizing family cooking challenges. Set a theme or ingredient that everyone has to incorporate into their dish and let each family member come up with their own recipe. Then, taste-test and vote on the best dish. This friendly competition not only encourages creativity and innovation but also strengthens family bonds.

Involving your child in the kitchen is not only a great way to spend quality time together but also lays the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits and culinary enjoyment. It's a great tool to try for families with picky eaters too! So roll up your sleeves, put on your aprons, and get cooking with your little chef!

Do you have any other fun ways to involve your child in the kitchen? Share your ideas in the comments below!


Looking for ways to help your picky eater try new foods?

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