What with young children being such picky eaters, or wanting to "help" as you're trying to put a meal on the table, dinner time can become stressful at times. But why not turn that pickiness and natural curiousity of wanting to help into some quality family time?
Whether you're cooking a kid-friendly or regular meal, there's usually plenty of tasks that younger kids can participate in. Here are some jobs I have found work well in the kitchen, and don't compromise safety:
- cracking eggs into a bowl (a separate bowl for less experienced egg crackers)
- cutting softer fruits and veggies with a plastic knife
- pouring in/stirring as you hold the bowl
- washing fruits/veggies
- crushing potatoe chips for casserole toppers (a favorite activity!)
- writing out as best they can or drawing pictures of ingredients as you call them out
- layering ingredients for casserole dishes
- comparing/contrasting amounts of used ingredients (great for basic math skills)
Children love to feel included in the cooking process, and are proud of what they accomplish, no matter how small the task. I've found that making them a part of the process even cuts down on the pickiness, as they're more willing to try something they've helped to make.
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