Kids Can Cook
Simple kitchen tasks can help young kids practice hand-eye coordination and learn about shapes, colors, smells and tastes. As children grow older, they are able to learn about nutrition and recipes and can challenge their reading, vocabulary, science and math skills, too. Helping mom in the kitchen can encourage picky eaters to try new foods and develop healthy eating patterns that they will carry into adulthood.
Make Some Memories
Kids often feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when they see family members enjoy a dish they helped prepare. Being in the kitchen can also teach kids to plan ahead, cooperate with others, and follow through with a task. Most important, you’ll not only be making smart snacks – you’ll be making family memories, too. With a pinch of love and a dash of imagination, you can turn your kitchen into a fun place to learn and bond.
Children develop skills at different rates, so it’s important to have an adult introduce children to skills that match their abilities. In general:
2- to 3-year-olds can wash and scrub vegetables; name and count foods; break bread into pieces; tear lettuce to make a salad; and talk about colors and shapes.
3- to 4-year-olds can shape meatballs; shell peas; peel bananas; mix dry ingredients together; pour premeasured liquids into batter; and talk about tastes and smells.
4- to 5-year-olds can help break eggs into a bowl; measure ingredients; open packages; pour cereal; wipe up after cooking; press cookie cutters into dough or soft food; and sort and classify foods.
6- to 8-year-olds can fill and level measuring cups and spoons; set the table; beat ingredients with a wire whisk; mash soft fruits and vegetables; and learn about food groups.
8- to 10-year-olds can use a can opener; use a microwave oven; prepare simple recipes with a few ingredients; and practice reading and math skills.
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