Today I want to share some skills that children can learn in the kitchen. Some of these are simple like mashing that children can begin at around 18 months, and some are more complex like grating which we would try at around 3 years+.
These are fantastic practical life skills to have, they also help the child to develop confidence, concentration, fine motor skills, and coordination. Many of these skills require hand and arm strength and require the hands to work together in a coordinated way.
There isn't a need to rush to teach our children these skills, hopefully, they can be introduced naturally while cooking, baking, or preparing food together. Some children thrive on 'doing' in the kitchen and others are more reluctant. Follow the child.
Let's get started!
1. Sifting. Here Otto (3yrs) is using a small crank sifter to sift flour.
2. Mashing. Mash avocado for spreading on bread or mash bananas for muffins. We can also mash steamed potatoes or cooked pumpkin.
3. Spreading. Spread jam, hummus, or dips on crackers, or bread.
5. Cracking an egg. We always crack the egg into a small bowl first so we can remove any shell. Most children like this but Otto doesn't do this often and he doesn't like it. There will be activities like this that our children may not like or want to do, and that's completely ok.
6. Whisking. We mostly whisk pancake batter or eggs for scrambled eggs. We can also practice whisking by using a whisk with water and dishwashing detergent in water play, to make bubbles.
7. Grating. We use a small pyramid type grater. Otto is grating cheddar cheese, I take it out of the fridge 10 minutes before we use it which softens it a little. We can also grate carrots and cucumbers for sandwiches, carrots and zucchini for muffins, or chocolate to put on top of desserts. Otto has done this many times and knows how to grate, but keep in mind the child may need a lot of practice grating before they are really successful at it.
8. Peeling a boiled egg.
9. Slicing an egg. Using an egg slicer.
10. Kneading dough. It takes a while before children can truly knead. Otto folds and then pushes with the base of his palm.
11. Peeling. Peel zucchini or carrot and make strips for stir fry, or simply peel things like potato. Children's Peeler (UK link).
12. Use a mortar and pestle. Grind whole spices or fresh herbs to make pesto.
13. Juicing citrus. We use a glass manual hand juicer.
Please note that having child-size tools is useful but not essential. We can do most of these activities using kitchen items found in most home kitchens.
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