It’s never too early to have extra hands in the kitchen. From unloading the dishwasher to planning a family meal, getting kids involved in the kitchen is possible at nearly any age, as long as you use common sense, teach your children basic kitchen safety, and help them help themselves. Plus, it gives them a sense of independence and confidence along with a connection to their food that can help build lifelong healthy habits. Keep reading for all the kitchen tasks kids should master before they’re 10.

Kitchen Skills for Kids Ages 2 & Up

cutting fruit is a way to get kids involved in the kitchen
Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

Clear their own plates. A two-year-old can easily grab their plate and bring it to the kitchen.

Unpack the groceries. When you set your grocery bags on the floor, expect eager toddlers to want to join in the fun. Especially if you have a shelf designated just for them.

Wash fruits and veggies. Step right up to the sink, toddlers and preschoolers; your fresh fruits and veggies need a quick bath before you dig in!

Mix the cookie/cake/bread batter. This is an easy way of getting kids involved in the kitchen, and it's also great sensory work! You can even give your toddler their own "bowl" and ingredients to mix.

Practice knife skills with a butter knife. Don't worry about chopping onions and peppers; let your little one practice early knife skills with a butter knife. They can slice things like butter, bananas and avocado. 

Kitchen Skills for Kids Ages 4 & Up

moms getting kids involved in the kitchen

Make a healthy snack. Simplify your after-school snack routine with a little help from your crew. Preschoolers and kindergartners can prep easy foods like toast, hard-boiled eggs, or fruits and veggies while they debrief about their day.

Tear veggies and herbs. Have the kids help you prep the basil for pasta, or shred lettuce for the salad!

Read a recipe. Put the “if you can read, you can cook” adage to the test with your beginning reader. Once your sidekick has the basics, let him read a favorite recipe while you two whip up a meal together.

Use measuring cups and spoons. Insert a covert lesson on fractions while cooking with your grade-schooler. Before you know it, she’ll be leading the math pack at school.

Load or unload the dishwasher. This easy task is one even four-year-olds can do, and not just because it’s right at their (ground) level. Pulling out silverware or dropping it in baskets will be their new helping-hand fave!

Help set the table. Placing napkins, flatware and cups on the table is a doable kitchen task for kids this age. You may need to get the dishes down for them, of course. 


Kitchen Skills for Kids Ages 6 & Up

getting kids involved in the kitchen

Grating cheese. Hand over the block and let them give it a go.

Peeling vegetables. Now hand them a peeler and let them have fun peeling potatoes, carrots, apples, and more. 

Prep skewers. From veggies to meat or even fruit, this is a fun task for your budding chef.

Use a stand mixer. Your grade-schooler can pour, sift and mix up his favorite batch of cookies using a stand mixer, without too much supervision, around this age. Waistlines, beware!

Kitchen Skills for Kids Ages 8 & Up

father daughter activities

Use a proper knife. The best thing since sliced bread is letting your kid do the slicing. Around second or third grade, move on from dull butter knives and teach your kids how to carefully cut up fruits, veggies, and more. 

Boil water. Teach your second or third grader this gateway kitchen skill and before you know it, she'll be cooking up pasta, hard-boiling an egg and steaming broccoli—scratch that—green beans while you prepare the main course!

Pack their own lunches. Grade-schoolers who've practiced slicing and dicing can make their own sandwiches, cut their own fruit and pack their own yogurts and snacks.

Plan a meal. Once they're ten, they can plan the family dinner and write out the grocery list too! Driving to the store…well, that’s up to you.

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