How to get your preschooler into the kitchen and live to tell about it.

My mother and grandmother started allowing me to help with making dinner and desserts at the tender age of three.  By the time I was eight, I was making dinner for the family at least one night a week. Some of the best times of my life were while in the kitchen cooking and baking with my mom, grandmother and various aunts during the Holidays.  I want my daughter to have memories like me. 

But how does one do that? This question started my journey to figure out how to teach my daughter the art and the joy of cooking.   Here are the easy (or maybe not so easy as it turns out) steps that I have incorporated into my cooking routine
  • KISS -- Keep it simple stupid works here! Don't plan an elaborate project.
    • Each activity that I plan lasts no longer than 5 to 10 minutes.
    • I start small and keep it fun.
    • Look at recipes and determine tasks that a preschooler can do independently or with minimal supervision. 
  • Assign tasks
    • Baking usually has the best and most tasks that can be assigned.   And as we all know baking is a big part of the Holidays!
    • Pour liquid or dry ingredients into a bowl.  Of course its usually from the measuring spoon or cup after I have measured it out.  
    • Sprinkle cheese or bread crumbs on top of a casserole before it goes into the oven
    • Use cookie cutters.  
      • Use the metal cookie cutters to cut PB&J or cheese sandwiches. I avoid lunch meat sandwiches as I quickly found out it is not easy to cut!
      • Use plastic or metal cookie cutters with biscuit dough
    • Pounding out or punching down dough, especially during bread and biscuit making.  
    • Stirring the ingredients in the bowl.  I use high sided bowls now!
    • Rolling meatballs or dough balls by hand.
  • Forget about the mess
    • This is the one I have the hardest time with!
    • Everything can be washed. 
      • Wear aprons or old clothes!
      • Put down newspaper under the table or stool being used by the child
    • Purchase kid-friendly utensils
    •  Clean up as you go.  This is a great teaching tool so that the kitchen isn't a complete mess after cooking.  Of course, if you are lucky like me, you have a husband who does the dishes so cleanup as we go is putting dishes in the sink and wiping the counters!
  • Last but not least is Have FUN
I hope others are able to take these steps and find the joy in having your preschooler in the kitchen!


  1. Have you ever tried Bento lunches? Check out what this one blogger's daughter is doing!

    I've been making bento lunches for a short while now. I share them with Sasha. Today I made them for myself and Tyler (12). Also, I've gotten her a Manga Cookbook for Giftmas that I think she'll love AND it includes Bento ideas!

  2. Jorje,

    That is great. No I haven't tried them but have been hearing a lot of about them. I will check out the ideas!