The greatest tragedy of the culture I live in is the disconnect we have with our food. There is no ownership – kids inhale a box of cereal or a plastic wrapped cupcake barely tasting it, rather than savoring the love and attention that would go into a homemade cookie.
When kids own something, they appreciate it more.
But taking the extra time to show them how to properly follow a recipe, and guide them to peel, chop, and stir has awarded me children that at the age of 5 can successfully slice, pit, and quarter into a pot a bushel of peaches to make peach butter.
Here are some tips to get them in on the action!
- Let them help plan: Set out the recipes and let them help with the grocery or farmer’s market list! Talk about what is in season, show them how to stretch that whole chicken to last you all week, talk about that family gathering you need to bake cookies for. There are more lessons here than just the food – budgeting, resourcefulness, etc are all life skills that are invaluable.
- Let them help shop: Show them how to pick out that piece of fruit or vegetable. Let them find the item on the shelf and pick it out.
- Let them help food prep: From age 18 months or so you can start having those little ones up with you at the sink washing up produce, putting the items you have cut up onto a plate, and helping dump a measuring cup of flour into a bowl. By age 2 or 3 they’ll be doing it on their own! Get those squashes up on the counter for them to scoop the seeds out. Let them help you pull the chicken meat off a roasted chicken (after it has cooled!). As they become more trustworthy you can work with a small knife on simple slicing skills. You will be amazed at just how proud they will be when they conquer this!
- Let them help cook: Get your hand over theirs and show them how to stir a bowl of batter. Let them stand up with you at the soup pot and watch you stir and then you can get your hand over theirs to help them learn to do it themselves. Let your 4 or 5 year old practice flipping a washcloth with a spatula and then let them try a pancake in the pan with your help. The look of accomplishment on their face is priceless.
- Let them help serve & clean up: Practice walking with empty trays first around age 3 or so and add an empty bowl/plate/cup. After a while of practicing, fill the bowls and cups up with water, and progress from there. Teach them how to clean up after their kitchen tasks and let them do the dishes – Yes! It takes so much more time at first. But before you know it your 5 year old can practically do the dishes herself.
It is even more exciting to get into your kitchen to make things happen when you have amazing kitchen tools! I am really excited to be a host for a giveaway brought to you by MightyNest! You can enter to win $250 in baking essentials that you and the children can have fun with this fall!
MightyNest is known for providing the natural, organic, and non-toxic products. Everything you find on their site is selected to be free from known toxic ingredients such as BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Lead, Formaldehyde, flame retardants, Parabens and more. Also, anytime you order from MightyNest, they’ll give 15% back to the school of your choice. It’s a great way to use safer products and support your local school!
I can’t wait to hear all that you make in your kitchens this season!
Here’s what we’re giving away!
- 2 cup Bake & Store
- 4 Cup Bake & Store
- Endurance Silicone Spatula
- Airtight Spice Jar
- Brownie Spatula
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring cups
- Cast Iron Loaf Pan
- 10″ Bundt Pan
- Baking/ Grilling Stone
- Mini Muffin Pan
- Silicone Mixing Spoon
- 12 x 17 Bamboo Cutting board
- Stainless Steel Whisk
To enter the giveaway, use the widget below!
Stop by each blogger’s FB page to show your support and give them a “like” for helping to host this amazing giveaway:
Love this! I often am “too busy” to take time to teach my kids to help, they are always asking so I just need to slow down and take more time with them in the kitchen 🙂 Can I ask about what your daughters are standing on to help in the kitchen??!! That looks wonderful! We could totally use something like that!
Hi Steph! No condemnation here – I have shooed the girls out of the kitchen countless times – especially since number 3 was born 😉 It does go faster, but it is worth it when you can make the time to have them in there with you. You’ll not regret it 🙂 My dad is a contractor and built those standers for me 🙂 If you google “little helper standers” you will find some – if you know of a handy person it might be worht it to send links to them to see if they can build one for cheaper!
Coming out of the woodwork to say . . . the top picture on my blog feed looked like your little girl was pressing buttons on the microwave, which totally caused a double-take on my part. Like, whaaaaa??? Microwaves and Real Food? Together?? But once I got here I saw that she was stirring a big pot. LOL, cute. And what a wonderful step-stool! Nice. I’m also a big fan of “keeping it real” with the big mess all around: it respects the process instead of presenting a shiny visage that sinks the ship before she sets sail.
Do you use your microwave or was it “just there” when you moved in? We had a microwave when we first moved into our place and I was mighty pleased when we were finally able to remove it. I remember seeing a promo picture of Jessica Prentice (Full Moon Feast), standing in a lovely kitchen right in front of a microwave and it always struck me as extremely odd.
Finally, do you have recommendations for appropriate knives for children? This is something I’ve been pondering recently.
Oh gosh – it sure does look like that doesn’t it! I hadn’t noticed that! And nope – she wouldn’t even know what to do with a microwave because we don’t use it 🙂 It was there when we bought our home. I have used to store things before 🙂 I have used to to real quick warm up water if I’m in a pinch or something but it has probably been used a handfull of times in the years we have been here! As far as the knives, so far I have found that giving Chloe a paring knife works really well. I haven’t really looked for kids knives because I want her to learn how to use the stuff I already have – and a paring knife is the perfect size for her little hands. She isn’t cutting super hard things at this point so the smaller knife works just great! I hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by and for the great questions!
I love this so much. And your girls could not be more adorable!
Thank you Amy!
I love this post! I’ve found getting my kids in the kitchen has been the best motivation for them to try new foods, and for our family to maintain a real food lifestyle together. Thank you for sharing this sweet post, pictures, and great giveaway!
Love the pictures. I should have done this more with my boys.
I TOTALLY AGREE!!! My son (6) has been in the kitchen with us for as long as I can remember. And when Daddy brings home a deer, he has no problems helping us process the meat into burger. We raise chickens and he collects the eggs and feeds them daily. Plus when it comes time to process the birds, he’s right there in the middle getting the job done! We also like to can as much as possible, and he of course is right there cutting and peeling, and chopping, and tasting as we go! You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to get him to eat green beans when he know they are the ones “he” made! FANTASTIC site!
Thank you Chris! And yes – I totally agree 🙂 How wonderful that your son gets to see the process from start to finish!
Love this post! I love when my Little Love wants to help me in the kitchen. I’m trying to find ways for Tiny Love to help me out too – like holding my hand to stir, or helping with the mixer. She loves it! Such sweet photos of your girls. Thanks for sharing this.
Thank you Emily!