Let the Little Ones Cook – 6 tips to help get your kids in the kitchen

I never used to let my kids help me cook or bake. I love cooking and baking so much, but the idea of letting them help, really stressed me out. The kitchen was MY space. The only “me time” I would get. Letting them in felt like it was taking something away from me. Plus, that learning curve seemed long and messy.

But as they’ve gotten older, they see me happy in the kitchen, trying new recipes, making yummy food, and they want to be apart of it. And when I have let them help, they are so proud of the food they have made. So the little extra mess, and time spent explaining things, it’s all worth it! After all, it is a very important life skill; time to get over myself!

For Christmas I asked for some kid friendly knives, and my mother in law bought us some Curious Chef sets. She picked out the 3 piece Nylon Knife Set and the 6-Piece Fruit & Veggie Prep Kit. And you guys, these are awesome! Sturdy and sharp enough to actually cut food, designed for smaller hands, and with great grips! If your kids are interested in cooking, I highly recommend them!

My kids have loved chopping fruits and veggies, dumping and stirring baking mixes is easy for them too. Next up, I think I’ll let them near the stove (supervised of course) stirring something while its cooking. Picking out the recipes is also a really fun thing to do with them. And did you know, kids are more likely to try something new if they’ve cooked it! Worth a shot if you have a picky eater! See if they want to help and maybe they will try something new!

Letting them meal plan with you, picking out things they want to help prepare and cook is another great way to get them involved. My 8 year old son came up with the idea of adding shrimp to a taco salad, and my 6 year old made it for us for dinner the other night. Talk about team work! My 6 year old has also made honey glazed rosemary carrots from a cookbook she got for Christmas, and my 8 year old son made some great mashed potatoes the other night.

Still feel a little overwhelmed with the idea of letting them in the kitchen, here are some tips to help get you started:

  1. Start out slowly – don’t hand your 3 year old a knife right away! Start them out with scooping and dumping and mixing things.
  2. Have the right tools – having tools like the Curious Chef ones I mentioned, can really help with their confidence and your worrying!
  3. Be prepared – having things set up and ready to go might make it easier. Pre-measure things so its easy for them to dump into a bowl, have everything out and ready before you invite them into the kitchen, so they don’t get impatient while you dig through the draw to find the right measuring spoon.
  4. Wait – maybe your kids just aren’t ready to be in the kitchen. It took me a while to get used to the idea, and for the kids to really be into it. Not everyone has a 3 year old that can handle this, so be patient.
  5. Have fun – relax and try to have fun. I always need a few moments to remind myself to stay calm and be patient. It will be messier, and things might not be done perfectly, but it really is worth it, so enjoy these moments together.
  6. Lessons – cooking is an important skill, and many kids are interested, but maybe you don’t want to be the one to teach them. Lots of places offer kids cooking classes, and even birthday parties, maybe that’s a better fit for your family. They have all the right tools, and that way the mess stays out of your kitchen!

Give it a try, it might be a little messy, but in the end they will have learned so much, and you can all enjoy the delicious food you made together!

And though this seems like a sponsored post, it isn’t! Curious Chef has no idea who I am (though I would love to work with them!), all opinions are my own and the kits were purchased by my mother-in-law as Christmas gifts for us.

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