age appropriate kitchen: father and daughter kneading dough together in the kitchen

It’s never too early to get the kids to help out in the kitchen – just find a task that’s appropriate for their age group. Here’s a list of age-appropriate kitchen tasks and chores you can get the kids to help with next time you’re in the kitchen. It will encourage their interest in cooking and allow you some time to grab the ingredients for the next step, rinse a bowl or even make a cuppa!

Ages 2 to 3 

At this age, you’re really just introducing them to the basics to get them comfortable in the kitchen – and most little ones love being given a ‘job’. Try tasking them with:

  • Selecting the right utensils from the drawer
  • Helping you knead dough
  • Helping to pour already-measured ingredients into bowls
  • Stirring ingredients in a bowl
  • Selecting and using cookie cutters
  • Squeezing lemons (this is more for fun than function)

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Ages 3 to 5 

This is an incredibly independent age where children often feel they can do a lot more than they are safely capable of doing. This age group requires strict supervision to ensure safety. Try tasking them with:

  • Whisking eggs (yes, this may get messy!)
  • Mixing ingredients in a bowl
  • Rinsing vegetables and fruits
  • Mashing potatoes (you’ll probably need to make sure it’s lump-free afterwards)
  • Pulling herbs off stems
  • Helping to set the table
  • Helping to grease pans

Ages 6 to 8 

By this age kids understand the concepts of sharp objects and danger, and they can read recipes and work out basic measurements, but still need supervision. Try tasking them with:

  • Peeling and grating fruit and vegetables
  • Cutting vegetables and fruits
  • Greasing pans
  • Using a can opener
  • Boiling eggs (give them a timer so they know when to take them out)
  • Using the toaster
  • Clearing the table
  • Reading recipes and measuring out ingredients

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Ages 8 to 12

Pre-teens tend to think they can do anything! While they may feel invincible, they need clear direction to ensure they learn in a safe way, especially when using the oven and stove top. Try tasking them with:

  • Operating the oven
  • Baking cookies and bread
  • Steaming rice
  • Boiling pasta
  • Using the food processor
  • Using a knife to cut vegetables
  • Cooking small, familiar meals like sausages and mash or spaghetti bolognese
  • Rinsing dishes, stacking and emptying the dishwasher
  • Making sandwiches

Ages 13 to 18 

At this age your focus should be on empowering your teenager to become self-reliant in the kitchen. Allowing your teen to cook now will enable them to eat well as an adult.
Try tasking them with:

  • Using kitchen appliances
  • Cleaning up
  • Selecting recipes
  • Going to the grocery store with you
  • Making family dinners
  • Adapting recipes to suit tastes and the servings required
  • Learning what is in different foods

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