Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kids in the Kitchen - more fun than you might think

The kitchen seems to be the heart of most homes. Even if you don't cook, you eat and clean up in there.

My kids have always been with me in the kitchen. There are times when I shoo them out to have it to myself, but mostly we're all in there.

Even a two year old can help unload the dishwasher if the dishes are stored low enough for her to put them away. Nothing gives them a sense of accomplishment and self esteem like helping around the house. Here are a few more things from my bag of tricks to make it fun and easy for kids to help in the kitchen.

1. Aprons - everyone should have one. In fact, there are cheap decorate-it-yourself ones at craft stores everywhere. But, just for kicks, why not buy cute aprons like these?

2. Baking Bin - I keep my measuring cups & spoons, spatulas, liquid measures, wooden spoons and cookie scoop in a dishwashing tub in the cupboard by the mixer. At 99 cents they are the cheapest storage container (& no lid so you can see everything). I got the idea from "Confessions of an Organized Homemaker".

3. Parchment Paper - for easy cleanup and fluffier cookies. Trust me on this.

4. Order - line up the kids and let them take turns measuring and then dumping in the ingredients. That way everyone gets a turn and you keep your sanity.

5. Kitchen Scissors - This is for you, not the kids (sharp enough to cut through bones). These are the best 1.99 I've ever spent. Have I told you how much I love IKEA? I keep them on the top shelf in my pantry.

6. Gloves - I do not love the texture of raw meat and let's not get into the sanitary issues. Whenever my kids mix up a meatloaf or handle chicken, they put on some latex-free gloves. Any medical supply store will have these for about $7.00 per box of 100 (it'll last a long time). The gloves can be big for small hands but a rubberband around the wrist does a good job of keeping them on (just remember to cut them off and throw away the gloves when you're through).

7. Assign a cooking night - Have each child cook with you. Start with one night a month and work up to once weekly. It's a great way to squeeze in some quality time even if you're just heating up prepared food.

For other Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer


Anonymous said...

Having kids in the kitchen is such a great way to teach them about cooking. There are lots of things they can do!

I've never thought of using gloves when touching meat, that is a great idea! I always hate cleaning my hands after...eww! Thanks for the tip!

Laura said...

I just did a whole blog series about having kids in the kitchen. They are sooo much fun to have in there, and they learn so much and LOVE it! Thanks for this post.

Christa said...

I agree! Having the kids in the kitchen makes them want to eat what they made, too. :) Since I have five kids five and under, I had to "assign" them each a night to help cook though. There is such thing as too many _toddler cooks_ in the kitchen. :)

Alisha said...

can you keep them out? even if you try? :) my girls decided they love asparagus when i started letting them snap the stalks. getting them involved sure does help.
thanks for the extra tips.

Heffalump said...

We bought boxes of those plastic food handling gloves at United Grocers aka Cash and Carry. They come in boxes of 500 gloves and were around $5.00 a box. I got one box of larger sized ones for D and I and a package of smalls for the boys to use. It really helps the boys when one of them has garbage as a chore and doesn't want to touch the garbage, and they are great for food prep too.
I also love my kitchen scissors. I have two pair because I use them daily, and sometimes more than once a day.

Mrs. Organic said...

Oh! the best kitchen scissors are the 1.50 ones at IKEA.

I'm going to have the older two girls help with the snapping.

Elizabeth-W said...

I saw your post and it motivated me to make cookies with 4 year old. I got started and while she was waiting for me, and got sidetracked and played in her room for about an hour. She so rarely does it, I just thought, I don't know what, I forgot she was supposed to be helping me, or that she was asleep or something. So they got made without her help. sigh...I'll have to try again next week. :)

Mrs. Organic said...

Baby G wore her first apron today and observed the cookie making (I don't let sick kids cook) and then helped with the cleanup by licking the pb off the spatula - it was a fun first go at things.

The Lazy Organizer said...

Confessions was what got me started organizing eight years ago! My first love!

Anonymous said...

So true! All of it! I love the tub storage and getting the kids in the kitchen tips. Blessings, Whitney

craftymom said...

Great tips!
My younger kids love helping in the kitchen and they love to wear gloves. It must be more fun for them!