Kids in the Kitchen

Child Development

kids-in-the-kitchenCooking is good for your child’s brain development and can give you an opportunity to spend quality time together!

Kids love to help adults cook! Plan ways for your child to help you in the kitchen. Tell him how fun it is to cook together and how helpful he is. Be sure to consider your child’s age when planning kitchen activities.


2-year-olds are learning to use the large muscles in their arms. They can:

  • Tear lettuce and salad greens
  • Scrub vegetables and fruits
  • Bring ingredients
  • Wipe table tops
  • Snap fresh beans
  • Break cauliflower and broccoli
  • Break bread for stuffing or croutons


3-year-olds are learning to use their hands. They can:

  • Pour liquids into a batter
  • Mix ingredients
  • Spread soft spreads
  • Knead bread dough
  • Wrap potatoes in foil for baking
  • Shake liquids in a sealed container

4 and 5-year-olds

4 and 5-year-olds are learning to control smaller muscles in their fingers. They can:

  • Mash bananas and other soft fruits and vegetables using a fork
  • Form round shapes with their hands
  • Peel oranges or hard-boiled eggs
  • Cut parsley or green onions with dull scissors
  • Measure dry and liquid ingredients
  • Use an eggbeater

Cooking with kids takes time, patience and can be very messy. The food you prepare with your child may not look or taste as good as when you make it by yourself. However, these drawbacks are far outweighed by the sense of pride that many children feel when they prepare food for themselves and others.

Source: Penn State Cooperative Extension