These simple kitchen tasks for toddlers are a great way for you spend time in the kitchen with your kids. They’ll have fun learning, developing new skills and trying new things!
If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed I’ve been posting a lot recently about my time in the kitchen with Squish. Although he’s been helping me in the kitchen for quite a while now, I’ve really made it a goal this year to help more people realize the importance of getting into the kitchen with your kids. They can do a lot more than you may think…especially with some practice.
Since I started sharing these videos, I’ve had so many people tell me that they’ve always wanted to bring their kids into the kitchen but just weren’t really sure where to start. The answer is- it doesn’t matter! Just start!
It’s messy, it takes forever and it definitely requires some patience…but it’s so important. And it’s about so much more than food. The other day, Squish and I made baked beans. When we were done, he took one taste and spit them out. So he didn’t eat baked beans that day. But you know what he did do during our time making those beans?
- He tasted molasses for the first time
- He worked on his fine motor skills by trying to use the can opener.
- He practiced his coordination by pouring ingredients into the bowl.
- He practiced counting the dried beans.
- He had fun!
So don’t focus too much on things going perfectly. Just grab the kids and give it a try!
Here are 12 things toddlers can do in the kitchen:
- Pour/drain – Measure ingredients and help them pour, open a can and let them dump it in all by themselves, give them a bottle and let them pour some into the pan, help them dump something into a strainer
- Stir – Hand them a spoon and a bowl of ingredients and let them go to town. I even let Squish stir things on the stove if he’s being carefully monitored.
- Rip – Give them a head of lettuce and show them how to remove the leaves, tear them into little put them in the salad spinner.
- Spin – Rinse lettuce in a salad spinner and let them go to town pumping the salad spinner to spin it dry. Then let them help you put it into bowls.
- Peel – Hand them a vegetable peeler and let them work on peeling some carrots or potatoes.
- Scoop – Make cookies or muffins and let them help you scoop the batter onto a try or into a tin. A cookie scoop works well for this!
- Count – Tell them you need 3 carrots and help them practice counting them out for you.
- Chop – Give them a small plastic cutting board and a small plastic knife and let them practice cutting soft things like mushrooms, cooked potatoes, etc.
- Crack – Help them crack an egg into a bowl and then practice washing hands.
- Retrieve – Tell them what ingredient you need and let them get it for you out of the pantry.
- Put away – Let them help you bring the groceries inside or empty the dishwasher and give them things to put away in their proper place.
- Taste – Encourage them to try things during the cooking process, as well as after you’re done. Squish is much more likely to taste a carrot after he peels it than if he just sees it on his dinner plate.
Side note- I realize some people may think 26 months is too young for him to be doing some of the things he’s doing and that’s ok! Everyone will have their own comfort level for letting their kids do things. I’ve made it a point to talk about kitchen safety every time we’re in the kitchen. We talk about how the oven is hot and he shouldn’t open it, how mommy uses pot holders to get hot things. We talk about how the stove is hot, how he doesn’t touch the knobs for the burners or the hot pans on the stove, how he doesn’t stand on his stool by the stove unless mommy is right there with him, etc.
The more often and earlier they start hearing these things, the more likely they’ll follow the rules. Do what you’re comfortable with. If I was bringing him into the kitchen for the first time today, I probably wouldn’t let him help me use a hand mixer or stir something on the stove. It takes time and practice.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Want some help in the kitchen? Here are 12 kitchen tasks for toddlers!” quote=”Want some help in the kitchen? Here are 12 kitchen tasks for toddlers!”]
In case you’re a visual person, here are some videos of Squish helping me in the kitchen lately. In the past couple of weeks we’ve made Green Bean Fries, Banana Oat Bars, Chicken Pad Thai and more!
Even when they don’t like the end result, they’re still learning and building skills!
Here are (affiliate) links to a few of the kitchen tools you see in the videos:
- Curious Chef Nylon Knife Set
- Little Partners Learning Tower
- Curious Chef 30-piece Chef Caddy Collection (don’t have this but want it!)
Like this post? Be sure to pin it to help encourage others to get their kids in the kitchen!
Cooking with Squish is fun for me, but I realize that for some people it may be stressful to bring kids into the kitchen. My friend and fellow RD Katie has two toddlers and a baby. She enjoys her time alone in the kitchen and that’s great! But even though it stresses her out a little bit, she’s still making an effort to spend some time in the kitchen with her kids each week. Check out her Toddlers In The Kitchen post as well!
If your kids are a little older, you might like this post I wrote about a year and a half ago about kids in the kitchen. I reached out to several of my friends to see how they got their kids involved in the kitchen!
If you’re struggling with feeding your young child, check out our Table Talk ebook for tips and tricks for feeding young kids!
Do you cook with your kids?! What’s your favorite thing to make?
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