6 Activities for Kids in the Kitchen
Let's face it - the 5 o'clock scramble to get dinner on the table can be a bit crazy! Particularly if you have young children or babies, as this dinner time also collides with what I like to call the "witching hour." Those crankies that come on after a long busy day of activities for little kids who no longer nap (or babies who are literally at the end of their rope and in need of a long night's sleep).
Here are some ideas to embrace the energy of children in the kitchen. Truly, bringing kids on board with your cooking plans does NOT have to be a recipe for disaster.
1. Measuring Cup Madness
Kids ages 1+ will have a field day with the measuring cups; stacking them, putting little snacks in them, using them to sort small figurines, and pretending to create their own imaginary recipes in the kitchen and throughout the rest of the house! I profess we've gone through 4 sets of measuring cups in the 6 years since I had my first daughter as they seem to find their way into the toy bins and never back into my cabinet!
2. Big Band Time
For kids under 5 and especially for those under age 2, set up a kids allowed cabinet full of pots, pans, lids, and a few big wooden or plastic spoons. Let the kids explore that cabinet any time you're busy in the kitchen cooking or cleaning and let them sort, stack or as I'm sure they'll discover, go to town with their very own musical band banging away on everything!
3. Magnet Magic
For kids under age 2, getting messy with food and too close to the stove might just be more stress than Mom can handle. Welcome the classic refrigerator magnets. We love the sets from Leapfrog to keep the kids busy. Magnets have come a long way since the alphabet sets available in the 70's when I was a kid - today the magnets sing, make sound and you can choose from letters to animals to robots and so much more!
4. Ingredient Dumpers
Whatever the recipe, kids ages 3+ can usually help sort and dump various ingredients. My kids find this thrilling! Often my recipes don't include too much prep work as I'm a convenience chef, but the times I let them help put ingredients into the crock pot, layer a lasagna, or even add the fixing to a salad are always encouraging and make them feel so important in the job. Plus it's a great way to teach them about healthy eating and have those conversations about food groups, veggies and more.
5. Make Your Own Pizza
Kids 2+ can totally help sprinkle on cheese and other fixings to become their own chef and make their very own pizza.
6. Bake a Cake
Even from a box, kids 3+ will easily be able to help dump ingredients into bowls, tackle the mixer with moms help, and even lick the spoon clean when the cake's in the oven. (Note: We only let the kids lick the spoon in our house when there are no raw eggs added to the batter - so my kids especially love when we bake Angel Food cake!)