These are some of my favorite ways to include the girls in cooking or baking. Especially now, with everyone home!
Some of my favorite memories of my mom are in the kitchen together. From baking chocolate chip cookies as a little girl to cooking my first Thanksgiving turkey as an adult. And I want my girls to have happy memories like that with me, so I try to include them in baking and cooking as much as I can.
I know that when kids get involved it may not be much real help (haha!) but I think that’s when the memories come. Like one time baking cookies with my mom I put a huge amount of salt in the dough instead of sugar. Ooops!!
I think this applies to almost everything you do with kids … when they “help” with something, anything — cleaning, baking, gardening — it will probably take longer than it would if you did it yourself. It’s more of a learning experience for me and my girls anytime we do something together. That’s something I always have to keep in mind, with cooking and baking with my kids too. 🙂
Also, the first thing we do before we start doing anything in the kitchen is wash our hands and talk about some ground rules: don’t stick your fingers into the bowl, if you have to sneeze or cough do it away from the food, don’t lick the spoon, etc. Then we move on to the fun stuff!
If you’re looking for more ways to get your kids involved with cooking and/or baking, here are some of the ways I let the girls “help” me in the kitchen. 🙂
Picking a recipe.
Sometimes I’ll ask the girls what they want to make for either dinner or a treat and they really enjoy having a say in that. We’ll look through a cookbook or Pinterest together to find something we can make together.
Finding the ingredients in the pantry.
When I’m making dinner, my older girls (7 years old and 5 years old) like to find the spices. I love that it encourages them to read and sound out a word, plus they’re learning the different colors and names of the spices. They also do this with other ingredients, like flour, sugar, baking soda, vanilla, etc. when we’re baking. It’s also an opportunity to talk about the flavors, smells and purpose of different ingredients (like what curry powder smells like, why you add eggs to cookies, etc.)
Setting out the supplies.
The girls help with setting out the supplies we’ll need, like bowls, a whisk, measuring cups, etc. This is also a good opportunity to talk about when to use a whisk vs a spatula, the difference between a tablespoon and teaspoon and other cooking supplies.
Counting and measuring.
Little and big kids can help with this one. For Jo, who is almost 3 years old, she helps me count if we have more than 1 measurement of something (like 2 cups of flour). The older girls can help me with measuring and also counting. If we need 2 ½ of something, they can help figure what that looks like. Bigger kids can help do the math if you’re doubling or halving a recipe too.
Stirring and whisking.
This is the obvious way kids can help, and it’s always something my girls enjoy. We take turns, and make sure to slowly and gently stir or else you may end up with flour all over your face. 🙂
Rinsing fruits and veggies.
This is such a simple way for kids to help and it’s an important step too! They can also scrub potatoes with a brush.
Chopping with kid-friendly knives.
We bought these kid-friendly knives and the girls love helping me chop and slice things like broccoli, lettuce, herbs, bananas, mushrooms. Even though the knives are designed for kids, they still could cut a finger if you’re not careful, so I talk to the girls about how to safely chop, watch for fingers and go slowly and carefully.
Draining and rinsing canned goods.
Sometimes Raegan will help open the cans and then drain and rinse things like beans, corn, olives and artichoke hearts.
Scooping the batter into muffin tins or onto a cookie sheet.
The girls are just beginning to help with this step. It can get really messy and may not be even sizes, but it’s a fun thing for the girls to learn.
The best part of baking and cooking. The girls love being my little taste-testers (after I make sure it’s not poisonous, haha!).
Setting the table.
The girls have fun with this one. When we’re all done cooking or baking, the girls wash their hands and then can pick out placemats, napkins and silverware and set the table. Usually everyone gets a different placemat and it’s a mismatched table they’re always so proud to show us!
Cleaning up the mess.
The girls can help with putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher and wiping down the counters, because such a big and important (but not fun) part of cooking and baking is cleaning up the mess afterwards.
I hope that you find some more ways to let your kids “help” you in the kitchen. 🙂 How else do you get your kids involved in your cooking and baking?