Family Meals Month: Get your kids cooking with these simple recipes –

SALT LAKE CITY — With Family Meals Month upon us, we’re reminded of all the benefits of eating together as a family. But what about cooking together as a family? Getting your kids in the kitchen to assist with the cooking can help bring you closer together as a family, as well as teach important life lessons.

To help you know what tasks might be appropriate for your children, below are a few kitchen tasks listed by age. Your child may be more advanced or may need more help than what is listed below — and that’s OK. Messes may happen but memories will be made along the way, too.

After seeing what tasks kids of different ages can help with, I’ve gathered and included delicious and simple recipes that kids can help prepare to make mealtime a family event.

Tasks kids can help with:

Ages 2-4

Children as young as 2 or 3 can help with simple kitchen tasks. Kids this age require close adult supervision. Show them how to do it and help them with these tasks as needed:

  • Rinse and wash produce
  • Wipe down surfaces
  • Set the table
  • Use cookie cutters
  • Use a plastic knife to cut soft fruits or vegetables
  • Tear lettuce leaves or fresh herbs
  • Pour ingredients into a bowl
  • Stir together ingredients in a bowl
  • Use a rolling pin
  • Use a basting or pastry brush to “paint” oil or an egg wash on food
  • Decorate or put sprinkles on cookies or cupcakes
  • Assemble food onto a tray

Ages 5-6

By this age, children have developed more fine motor skills and usually want to do more kitchen tasks by themselves, but adult supervision is still required. Be sure to stay close by to help them with these increased responsibilities:

  • All of the age 2-4 tasks
  • Crack eggs
  • Use a vegetable peeler
  • Shuck corn
  • Measure ingredients
  • De-seed peppers
  • Use blunt scissors to cut herbs
  • Grate cheese
  • Scoop batter
  • Roll cookie dough into balls
  • Load the dishwasher

Ages 7-9

Kids this age can usually be trusted with more precise work, as their fine motor skills are developed and they are more mature. It’s still smart to be nearby to look after and remind them about basic food and kitchen safety in case they forget. Their abilities include:

  • All of the ages 2-4 and 5-6 tasks
  • Use a can opener
  • Use a pizza cutter
  • Beat eggs
  • Use a food thermometer
  • Juice citrus fruits
  • Pound chicken on a cutting board
  • Put away leftovers
  • Make a sandwich
  • Use a toaster

Ages 10-12+

By this age, kids can usually exhibit more independence in performing kitchen tasks. However, before giving your child freedom to cook and bake in the kitchen, first be sure they can perform kitchen tasks safely and follow basic kitchen rules such as turning pan handles inward on hot stoves, using a chef’s knife properly, or unplugging electric appliances.

Each child is different and may develop and mature at different levels than their peers. You know your child best and whether they are mature and experienced enough to have a little independence in the kitchen or not. However, it is still recommended that an adult be in the house in case of an emergency. These kids’ abillities include:

  • All of the ages 2-4, 5-6 and 7-9 tasks
  • Boil and cook pasta
  • Steam vegetables
  • Follow a simple recipe
  • Slice and chop vegetables
  • Bake and microwave foods

Now that you know some of the tasks kids can help with, here are 18 simple recipes you and your child can cook up in the kitchen together.


About the Author: Brittany Poulson

Brittany Poulson is a Utah registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She shares her passion for health, food and nutrition on her blog,, where she encourages you to live a healthy life in your unique way.

Editor’s Note: Anything in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended, nor should it be interpreted, to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition; Any opinions, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and not of KSL. KSL does not endorse nor is it responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, information, or statement made in this article. KSL expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on the content of this article.


Brittany Poulson

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