Kids in the Kitchen - The Littlest Kitchen Helper

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Kids in the Kitchen - The Littlest Kitchen Helper

Children love to imitate adults, especially in the kitchen. They seem magically drawn to the all of the whirring sounds, flashing lights and shiny utensils. And while it’s true that the kitchen can be dangerous territory for inquiring minds (and hands), don’t put up the “No Trespassing” sign just yet.

With the proper supervision, children can safely accomplish simple cooking tasks. They can retrieve ingredients from the cupboards and refrigerator, grease and flour pans, and measure and mix ingredients. While it may slow down the dinner-making process a bit, take comfort knowing that cooking is an educational experience for children (just don’t tell them). It helps them learn about measurements, encounter new vocabulary, and practice fine motor skills. More importantly, cooking provides a priceless bonding experience–a chance to be creative, ask questions and solve problems together.

Getting children to play a role in preparing family meals may teach them about nutrition while expanding their palates. Kids know they like jellybeans, but they might not understand why they can’t have their favorite “food” at every meal. Don’t expect finicky eaters to suddenly beg for shrimp scampi, but children are more likely to eat a food that they helped make.

You can build a little one’s cooking confidence by introducing a few easy recipes. Something as simple as spreading peanut butter and jelly on bread can provide a child with a sense of accomplishment, and you can up the creativity quotient by using cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes, like daisies and dinosaurs. For pre-readers, boxed instant cake mix has illustrated, easy-to-follow instructions. You can also turn to the hundreds of kid-friendly cookbooks for inspiration. Many of the books on the market today offer delicious and nutritious recipes that kids will enjoy making and eating.

Kid-sized play kitchens, utensils and pots and pans can help children refine their cooking skills in the playroom. A supply of Play-Doh or grocery-bought dried lentils in a variety of shapes and colors are cheap and easy ways to create a more hands on experience.

Finally, help children feel welcome in the kitchen by relinquishing a little control. It doesn’t matter if an eggshell slips into the batter or if things get a little messy (they will). Give them their own apron and set of cooking utensils to use and store in the kitchen and one day you may be rewarded with breakfast in bed. In the meantime, hope for some help with the dishes.

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

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Reader Comments:

54321

I love that you have your kids on all the time. I think its great to get them involved in the cleanup too.

By charlie h. on April 03, 2013

54321

For everyone wanting to purchase these, I found them via google ... they are under the brand "Head Chefs" ... here is a link where they can be found: http://www.cookswarehouse.com/head-chefs/our-head-chefs-tools.html

By Kylee on September 05, 2012

54321

Hi Leslie, You can order those from our store in Savannah: 912.232.1579

By Jonathan Able on May 11, 2011

54321

I would like to buy the littlest kitchen set but can find where to order it from only this page .Where can I order this ?

By leslie b. johnsey on May 05, 2011

54321

were can i buy the the kids cooking tools your biggest fan would love them she is my granddaughter her name is natalee and she is 4 and she just loves you she plays like you cooking fried chicken and talks like you it is so cute

By judy anderson on March 14, 2011

54321

I have a 13 yr old grand daughter who is becoming a culinary prodigy. Last year she was diagnosed with kidney disease & was forced to learn to cook low sodium food. This has brought about a complete change in the way she thinks about and appreciates food. She recently started a blog for teenagers with recipes and reviews about restaurants. This was a kid who a year ago was picky and would never try anything new. All this came about because she got in the kitchen with her mom and learned to cook.

By Liz Johnson on March 12, 2011

54321

Hi Paula, I just wanted to say thank you for sending the autographed picture of you to my son AJ. He loves it. He was so excited to receive mail from his Nana Paula the other day. He loves to help out in the kitchen.

By Stephanie McMullen on March 12, 2011

54321

I have got to know where I can find these cute mixing utensils!!! Not for my kids, although they would love them...I want them!!!!! :o)

By Mariann on March 12, 2011

the kids cooking tools can be found at www.cheftools.com, go to kids and they are all there, and not to pricey,about 10 bucks each..

By theresa eyrich on November 02, 2010

Hi my mom and I love to have my toddlers help in the kitchen. My son who is 2 loves to cook and watch most food network shows. Both my kids loved when you had Elmo on your show but I think you need to have Cookie Monster.

By Melissa on May 18, 2010

Ihave four grand children can"t wait to try the strawberry Banana Ice pop with them Keep up the good work.You are so cool

By wanda elliott on May 12, 2010

I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHERE TO FIND THE UTENSILS SHOWN ABOVE IN THE PICTURE!

By JENNA on April 13, 2010

I wanted to know where I might find this cooking set for children?

By Jenna on April 13, 2010

Hi my name is taylor and i am 11 years old. i really really love your show and rachael ray and so does my friend jordan.
we both love to cook and i have cooked a whole meal with jordan.we have been friends since i was in kindergarden and we have fun in the kitchen making our own creations. my mom loves to help me when i need it. i already know what i am doing when i graduate i want to go to culenary school and be a chef and i am still in the 5th grade but that is definetly what i am going to be. if you know of anything llike a cooking contest please let me know i will always be open for things like that. thanks and good luck on your next shows.
Taylor

By Taylor Crews on March 26, 2010

Spending time with family is SO important. My soon to be three year old granddaughter and I cook togehter all the time. She loves to help. Sometimes its not much “help” but it sure is fun. Cook, laugh and enjoy. Time is precious! God bless you all.

By Katie on December 14, 2009

I have a daughter who is just about to be two and she loves loves loves helping me in the kitchen we got one of those cheapo stools she can climb all over and she helps me stir and taste test for me and she even helped me hand wash the dishes the other day… my mother harps on me all the time about how dangerous it is for her to be in there that kind of thing but my husband and i keep a close eye on her. I’m glad to read that other’s agree to have little kitchen helpers :p they are the best and highlight of my day

May everyone’s Christmas be a cheerful one :p

By Marcie on December 08, 2009

Hi I am amber and I am 13 my best friend and i really love u and rachael ray but u remind me of my nana who loves me so much.Oh and just to let u know my birthday is coming up in december so please write back.smilelove amber

By amber nicole tuzio on November 11, 2009

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