Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids
I’m so looking forward to our chat today! Just like last time, I’ve been wanting to pull up a chair and talk with you about cooking with kids for a long time. Today’s the day.

To begin, I’ve recruited help from Reyna, one of my favorite people in all the world. She’s talented and funny and amazing and happens to be mom to six wonderful kiddos. Not only that, but she is a crazy good cook and years ago served me one of the best lunches I’ve ever eaten in all my life. In a minute, I’m going to give you some details on this really cool vlog she created that includes a brand new segment completely dedicated to cooking with kids.

First, though, I want to talk about how my kids cook with me.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a bit of a control freak in all things…well, life-related. For a long time when my kids were super little, it was easiest to do all the cooking myself (but hard, too, if you know what it means to have three toddlers clinging to legs and arms at every possible minute of the day). Several years ago, I decided I was going to have to relax a bit and let my kids help me in the kitchen. Because I spend so much time there, I wanted it to become a family affair and over the years, we’ve developed a pretty darn good system for cooking together.Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

Any time I’m in the kitchen and I have kids at home, I can guarantee at least one, if not more, will come bounding in asking if they can help. That may or may not be because they usually get to snitch an ingredient here and there but whatever, I’ll take it. I used to cringe at the thought of having them help and instantly think: messy! Inefficient! Not enough patience! Noooooo!

But I’ve learned that because I want my kids to learn how to cook and also because I kind of like the little dudes, no matter what I’m doing or making, there’s always something they can do to help. Plus, one of the main (huge, epic) benefits of the kids helping is that it has made them even more adventurous eaters. If they’ve been in charge of making the avocado lime dressing or shelling the shrimp or cutting up the leeks, chances are, they’re going to eat it at dinner even if it’s just a matter of pride.

Here are a few of the things I commonly delegate to the kids:

Grating cheese: I have one of these old-fashioned box graters that is sturdy enough so it doesn’t topple over easily.

Opening cans: I’ve had this can opener for years and years and years (I bought it for about double that price on Amazon a long time ago at a specialty cooking store) and I can’t say enough good about it; if one could be in love with a can opener, this would be it – it doesn’t get rusty and hard to turn so it’s very, very easy for my kids to use.
Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

Pouring: this is a task especially great for my 3-year old; she holds the measuring spoon and I pour in the vanilla or soy sauce or whatever – also she can pretty easily pour ingredients from a large measuring cup into a bowl.
Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

Whisking and Stirring: yes, the powdered sugar sometimes flies all over the kitchen but it’s a small price to pay for free labor.

Cutting and Slicing Ingredients: I think this is the task scariest to pass on to kids. I wait until my boys have pretty steady fine motor control before telling them to slice it up like they are in Kitchen Stadium. I start them out cutting really soft ingredients like olives, grapes, cheese, avocados, cherry tomatoes, chicken. My 6-year old on up can manage those tasks but I leave the hard chopping (like carrots and herbs and such) for my 9- and 11-year old. I never leave them alone while they are chopping and always remind them to get their other fingers out of the way. Over the years, we’ve had one or two cut fingers – nothing that has required an emergency room, thank goodness – but they have learned quickly how to wield the little cutting knife. Speaking of knives, I don’t let them go to town with my huge Santoku knife. Instead they use either this small Komachi knife, or my favorite is this inexpensive little serrated Victorinox knife (I had one for years – lost it in a move and a sweet friend recently gave me a new one; if you have a Cash and Carry locally look there!) – it’s honestly the greatest knife for my kids to use.
Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

Zesting: this might be the one the kids fight over the most. For some reason, using the microplane/rasp grater (indispensable tool in my kitchen) to zest oranges, lemons or limes or to grate frozen ginger pieces is a coveted task. Of course, what’s not pictured below is how two seconds after the picture was taken, the orange slipped out of Cade’s hands and tipped over the measuring cup sending my soy sauce dressing everywhere. Lesson learned: have child zest orange onto plate or paper towel instead of over the bowl.
Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

Oven Duty: understandably, my kids were nervous about taking things in and out of the oven until I invested in some heavy duty, full coverage oven mitts (I found these ones at Costco about a year ago – not sure if they still have them but I love how far up the ol’ arm they go). Now they whip open that oven and pop the trays in and out like it’s nobody’s business.
Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

Of course there are accidents and spills and moments where I kind of want to scream and send everyone out immediately, but I can testify that as an uptight mom who used to dread having my kids in the kitchen, I have changed into someone who genuinely loves when they are right there beside me. They amaze me every single day by the things they can do with my help or by themselves and their cooking and baking confidence is growing by leaps and bounds. When they run out of things to do, they usually pull out the kitchen scale and start weighing anything and everything in sight. And yes, they’ve tried to put their baby sister on there. ERROR!
Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

Very regularly, especially now with school out, they will ask to make muffins or cookies or brownies or banana bread. Our new rule is if they clean it all up (including doing some of the larger dishes by hand), they can make whatever they want if time allows. My 6-year old has perfected the fudgy coconut oil brownie bites and my older boys can whip up pao de queijo and cookies and many other things by themselves.
Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

There are so many other aspects of cooking with kids that we won’t cover today – like involving them in menu planning, even more specific kitchen duties as they get older, assigning them a dinner night, teaching and motivating them to clean up (right!?!) and more, but let’s leave it at this for now because I want to tell you again about my friend Reyna who I mentioned at the beginning of my post. She has a happy, fun vlog over on YouTube and is starting a brilliant video series dedicated to cooking with kids. Her first video is all about eggs! And it’s really cute.
Let's Talk: Cooking with Kids

She just launched this video and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store. I’ll be joining her for a few videos (via Skype) and also shooting a few segments of my kids and I in the kitchen, so if you are interested in specific ideas and recipes to cook with kids, you don’t want to miss this. Be sure to subscribe to her channel to get all the latest updates + I’ll be adding a little widget over there in the sidebar so you can check out all the latest cooking videos!

Thanks for the chance to chat about this! I’m excited to hear your thoughts and ideas on cooking with kids so leave a comment below and chime in!

{Several of the links above are unsponsored, Amazon associate links for products I love and recommend with no strings attached – feel free to shop around for the best deal!}

71 Responses to Let’s Talk: Cooking With Kids

  1. Sheila says:

    What a wonderful visit with a treasured friend! As always, the well photographed pictures and the beauty of your children (smiles, looks of intense concentration, etc.) shines through the post. I enjoy taking celery sticks to work to munch on as a snack. I usually eat breakfast at 6 a.m. so by 11 a.m. I’m starved. I had washed my celery and was cutting it into celery sticks when my little one (5 years old) decided he wanted to prepare my work snacks and then my lunch. He took over cutting up my celery sticks. He worked so hard, concentrated greatly, and cut my celery into the most, tiny minced pieces of celery I have every had! He was so proud to had been so helpful I didn’t have the heart to point out to him the sample sizes that were already on the cutting board.

    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with kids in the kitchen. I love hearing about the products you use. The can opener needs to be on my next Amazon order. The measuring spoons from one of your former posts have become one of my favorite tools.

    • Mel says:

      That is so endearing about the celery, Sheila! It’s true that sometimes the tasks aren’t completed the way I would do them but I suppose finely minced celery can still be eaten as a snack, right?

  2. Becky says:

    That video was super cute! Especially dressing up the eggs at the end 🙂

    My daughters cook with me a lot, but not as much now that it’s nice out, and they want to play outside which is hard to argue with. I know my oldest daughter is ready for handling more difficult tasks (she’s 9), so I think summer will be a good time for that. Those oven mitts are perfect for building oven confidence!

    I’ve found that we all do better with cooking together earlier in the day…whether it’s baking or getting things prepped for supper. They have better listening skills in the morning, I’m more patient earlier in the day, and we aren’t in a time crunch.

    Have a great weekend with your little cooks! They sure are adorable!

  3. Barb says:

    My youngest girl graduated from high school last nite- so obviously I’m at a different stage of life than most of you- but when my girls were little, they used to love having a piece of bread dough to knead and play with while I was baking. I figured it was safer than play doh if they were to put it in their mouth. I discarded those little pieces, then just went on with the recipe They liked experimenting later on, and one day when I was cleaning their room, I found a bowl of moldy grapes under Sarah’s bed, and when I asked her about it she said, well, mom I am making raisins!

    • Mel says:

      Yes, Barb! I agree, my kids always get a pinch of dough and they love that. That is hilarious about your daughter’s raisin experiment. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Megan Lang says:

    I, too, struggle with the loss of control in the kitchen when cooking with littles. It slows things down, makes things messier and more difficult to clean, and can potentially change the outcome of the product being made. That being said, I LOVE having them in there with me. I have to remind myself to take a breath every now and then, but they enjoy it so much. Mine are 3 and 5. They have tasks like retrieving equipment from drawers and cabinets, pouring, some measuring, kneading and rolling, and I’ve recently had my older start cutting soft things. We’re still working on the buy-in to eat what they make, but they sure enjoy making things with me. This was a good read; I’m glad you shared what you do with your helpers.

  5. Love this post! I think it’s so important to get kids cooking in the kitchen from a young age!

  6. Barbara H says:

    My boys have enjoyed helping me in the kitchen ever since they were able to stand on a stool on their own. They couldn’t do much at that age but always enjoyed stirring dry ingredients together in the bowl. One of my favorite tips when working with the really little ones is to give them a fork for stirring dry stuff together instead of a spoon. It’s much harder for them to fling stuff everywhere with a fork!
    This post came at the right time for me since my boys are now 4 & 6 so are ready for a little more in the kitchen. I’m determined that once they are grown, they will know how to cook for themselves!

  7. Ashlee T says:

    I have a 6 and almost 4 yr old that love to help. But it’s hard knowing what they can help with. Of course they want to cut! They also love pooring stuff in with measuring cups! For me it’s fun if they are helpful- as in they aren’t just playing in the flour. Also a control freak- or hesitate to have them help

  8. Danswifey says:

    I love this post! I am the same way you were about having the children help. I have to keep reminding myself that a little mess is worth spending more time with my kids and helping them to hone their kitchen skills.

    What did Reyna prepare for you for lunch?!! 🙂 Are you going to post that recipe?

  9. Maria D. says:

    I think it’s really important to let kids help in the kitchen. I don’t have any kids but I am an aunt to many and I know that at least one of my younger sisters has had her kids in the kitchen “helping’ her since they were about 3 years old – she would let them help with washing dishes, setting the table and then general kitchen help such as what you have done with your kids…it’s great!

  10. Hilary says:

    This is AWESOME!!!! Will definitely be following along with the video series…this will be perfect for summer vacation! Thank you so much for all of the info and the links to some of the products you recommend. My kids will be thrilled!! 🙂

  11. Wonderful post this time. What a bonding time cooking with your kids is. I know it meant a lot to me cooking with my Mom.

  12. Jocy says:

    Thanks for this reminder, it really is worth it. Thank you Mel

  13. Ashley says:

    You have been my go to site for years and I have never commented, but I had to today because I love that you are talking about this. I have been trying to get my older kids meaningfully involved in the kitchen. My oldest (almost 9) can just about make your skillet mac and cheese by herself. I would love to have them able to cook a meal for the family by the time they are young teens. Thanks for today’s tips, and I can’t wait to hear more on this topic!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Ashley! It sounds like your kids are doing great! I’m hoping to add to this series by delving into baking with kids and also some specific “boot camp” type ideas for planning cooking activities with kids.

  14. It really pays off to involve you kids in the cooking.
    I came down with a bug on Monday and my 11 year old son made a pancake dinner for us ( I think he wanted to try the new strawberry pancake syrup I had made that weekend) so I didn’t have to cook. For lunch the next day he made grilled cheese and tomato soup. I was thrilled to not have to cook but more thrilled with his loving and caring heart.

  15. Bonnie N says:

    Love all your great ideas for getting the kids helping in the kitchen! And thank you for your introduction to Reyna! I instantly love her and just know we could be best friends!

  16. Kim in MD says:

    I love this post, Mel. Cooking with children does require patience, but it’s so worth it. Some of my favorite memories are times spent in the kitchen with my children!

  17. Jessica Chamberlain says:

    I loved this. Thank you. I have five boys, and I really want them to learn to be good cooks. I am, however, a very uptight mom in the kitchen. I like everything just so. So, I am glad to hear that you have been able to emerge into a “I love having my kids in the kitchen helping me” mom. I am really going to try and get to that place! Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Although just so we’re clear, Jessica – I do have to go scream in my pillow sometimes. 🙂 I wish my patience were all-encompassing but sometimes it does run out and I want my kitchen back to myself.

  18. Sharon says:

    I am a total control freak, but I really want my girls to love cooking with me, so I’m learning to let go of “perfection”. My 5-yr old has been making her own scrambled eggs since she was 3 and now my 3-yr old is learning to scramble/cook her eggs. I love your tips about things they can do at a certain age, plus the tools that will help them succeed. I think I need a few more of those kid friendly kitchen gadgets. Thanks for the chat 😉

  19. Nicole Hunn says:

    I’m so ashamed. My kids don’t know how to cook. And since my oldest is now 13 and is currently sure she already knows everything worth knowing, the window is closing for me to teach her. At least until she reaches young adulthood.

    I can manage to have them help me when I’m just putting dinner together for them to eat, but recipe testing for a book or my blog? I won’t even answer questions about an ingredient! I don’t even have words for what I’m doing yet when I’m in that stage, you know? I know you know!

    Well, hats off to you, my friend. That’s all I can really say. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I’m afraid for that “I already know everything so don’t even try, mom” phase. We are getting there. I see little signs. And as a fellow food blogger, a hundred times yes to the time-and-a-place theory with letting the kiddos help. Remember that time I made 17 variations of yellow cake to get it just right? Yeah, they weren’t allowed to help much then.

  20. Jen says:

    Yes, having the kids help can slow things down, make things ‘not quite so’ but it’s worth teaching them young so they can be really useful as they get older to bless others and themselves. I few months back I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed (never had that in 15 years of being a mom!) My nearly 13-yr-old daughter watched the little ones for the day and made a most delicious chicken pot pie for her dad and siblings dinner – complete with pastry crust… that’s when I realized ‘Hey! What I’ve taught her actually has sunk in!! It really was worth the time and effort!’

    On another note, I did receive as a hostess gift years ago the Tupperware can opener (http://www.tupperware.com/Tupperware-Can-Opener/dp/B00NYAHYSE) and I love it. It never touches the food and DOESN’T leave ANY sharp edges – which is a bonus with kids helping in that area. Looking online for that link I did see some negative reviews but I have never had a can that wouldn’t open or any problems with it in over 10 years… just LOVE it!

    Thanks again for all your tips and great recipes… a regular ‘go-to’ blog for recipes 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Wow, your 13-year old is amazing, Jen! And thanks for the link on the can opener. I had one like that (although not the Tupperware brand) that had issues several years ago so it’s good to know there are better options like this one out there.

  21. Holly says:

    Love these ideas! I know my little kiddos really just want to help and I need to include them more!

  22. Sarah says:

    As with many others, I also struggle with letting go of control in the kitchen (I’m actually probably worse with my husband than my son). I also work full time so dinner can be a mad dash to get ready when I get home and it can be hard to get my 4 year old involved when I know that any task is going to take so much longer. I’ve been trying to make more of an effort especially since my son will try just about anything he has helped make.

    That said, I find that I’ve had more luck getting him involved (since as soon as he could stand on a chair) with baking–the measuring and mixing gives a lot of options for younger kids to help without having to worry about knives or food safety like raw meat.

    • Mel says:

      I laughed out loud at your husband comment, Sarah! My husband would agree that I’m the worst at wanting to give advice when he’s in the kitchen. I agree that baking is a fabulous way to get kids involved!

  23. I love this post! I, too, can be a control freak in the kitchen…but cooking with our kids, while sometimes messy and inefficient, is some of the best times we have together as a family. Once the kids wanted to make california rolls and my husband took them to the store to buy all the stuff they would need. They had a blast and were sooo proud that they made something they normally only get in a restaurant!

  24. Shalane says:

    I have been following your blog for years and it is my go-to place for recipes, but I have never commented. I seriously love your site and I love this post! I was a horrible cook when I left for college but have grown to love being in the kitchen over the years. I’m determined to teach my kids some cooking skills and hope they love it too! I’ve been planing to do a little summer “cooking camp” with my 7 yr old and her friend, but your post has re-inspired me to let those little hands help on a day-to-day basis. Thank you for that and for all your wonderful recipes and meal ideas!

  25. Stephanie says:

    This topic is timely for our family, as we are starting “cooking camp” next week. We are planning to work our way through “The Math Chef” by Joan D’Amico and Karen Drummond. I really struggle with letting my kids in the kitchen especially once we hit the afternoon rush hour that precedes dinner time and I just want to get. dinner. done. I’m hoping the structure of following a book will keep me accountable while giving us all a chance to learn and try new foods and techniques.

    I’m going to check out Reyna’s vlog, not just on your recommendation but also because she shares the same fabulous name as my daughter! 🙂

  26. Liz says:

    I am 59 and no children, BUT I was a child and I was allowed/encouraged to sit in the kitchen with my mama and grandma. AND, when I was about 10, my brother (8) and I received a “Betty Crocker for Kids” cookbook and were tasked with planning/shopping/cooking dinner. Ultimately, we are both excellent scratch cooks. I am forever grateful that my mother and grandmother encouraged both of us to cook!

  27. caitlyn says:

    I am a total control freak in the kitchen too, but I started baking with my 4-year old when she was 3. I measure the ingredients, then she pours them in and mixes with the wooden spoon. I rarely mix much at all anymore! I can see the improvement in her skills. Last year she couldn’t really mash bananas, and recently she did it all by herself! Sometimes we watch cooking shows together, and it’s nice to know that she recognizes the ingredients we use in baking (e.g., “Mama has vanilla”). Thanks for your tips in this post!

  28. This post is right on time for me! I have 4 kiddos, who want to help so badly, but I am a control freak too. My 8 year old daughter has recently taken a huge interest in cooking, which makes me so happy. I now need to embrace all the help! Great tips!!

  29. emily says:

    Love it, Mel! A while ago when you called for us to submit questions, this is what I posted a question about so it is very appreciated! Am I crazy or is the shortcut to the healthy meals recipes gone from the side of your blog? Is there another place I can get to that collection? It was totally my go-to…

  30. Claire says:

    I love that you gave some practical suggestions for things that kids can do to help in the kitchen! I just have one little girl, a toddler, and I really want to get her involved in cooking starting pretty soon here even though she’s kind of a mess machine. This was a good reminder for me that getting the task done as quickly as possible isn’t always the best way to do it if I’m ignoring teaching moments. Thanks!

  31. Nicole says:

    I really love this post! I am definitely on the controlling side with not so much patience with little ones in the kitchen and I so want to change. So this is right up my ally. Hoping to read all the comments eventually too in case they can help reform me 🙂

  32. Holly says:

    Here’s a tip for keeping digital scales clean – I keep mine in a gallon ziploc bag and wipe that down. As needed, I replace the bag.

  33. britney says:

    love this. I will start printing a few recipes my 8 year old can handle and make her her own cookbook. I love your cleanup rule. Great Ideas as always. You are the best blogger ever!

  34. Anna S. says:

    Am I crazy for thinking that you once posted a list about the best buys at Costco?! I JUST bought a membership today, prompted by how many times I read about it on your blog. However, I am buying for our family of three (husband + 12 y.o. daughter and her friends who are ALWAYS hungry!), rather than a brood your size and I don’t feel like I will make the best value-based purchases. If you made this list, will you direct me to it? And if you didn’t, could this possibly be a future blog? Also your other retailer suggestions?! I really trust your recommendations, unlike the other 90% of blogs I don’t trust after making purchases through their links and the items have ended up being total crud.

    • Mel says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever done a post like that but I have referred to some of the things I love there. I’ll have to get a full list together – mostly the stuff I love is just floating around in my brain right now since I know right where to find it there. 🙂 Off the top of my head, here are a few you should look for (I didn’t state the obvious things like fruit and vegetables, milk and meat; these are more of the specialty things we like):

      -Uncooked tortillas (I love the Two Tias brand but they also sell Tortilla Land, too, I think; you heat them up on a griddle and they are amazing)
      -Crunchmaster rice crackers
      -Pure vanilla extract
      -Central Milling Company organic unbleached all-purpose flour (the only kind I buy and use)
      -Tillamook sharp cheddar sliced cheese
      -Pretzel crisps
      -Fruit leathers

      There are seriously a ton of other ones but these came to mind first.

      • Ruth says:

        Mel, thank you for doing this. (And, Anna, thank you for asking for a list.) It is really helpful to me, and probably to a lot of others, also—besides Anna and me. I always try to make a mental note when you mention brands/products that you have found to be worth buying.

        • Anna S. says:

          Mel, what a great list, thank you for taking your time to share it. And Ruth, thank you for seconding my request:-D

  35. Melissa says:

    Love this post! Little helpers in the kitchen can be a lesson in patience, but I can promise you it is worth the effort! You will make so many memories while cooking with your sons and daughter, and your daughters-in-law will bless you!!
    I’m happy that you enjoy the paring knife. My mom gave one to me when I was newly married… I have replaced it a few times over the years, (40 years in December) and it is my absolute favorite! I enjoy giving them to my “kitchen gadget geek” friends… just sharin’ the love!! 🙂

  36. justann says:

    When my kids were just toddlers, I let them chop things using one of those pumpkin-carving knives….safe for little fingers, but quite effective. My youngest just turned 18, and has been making dinner most nights for a couple of years. His older brother doesn’t enjoy cooking as much, but definitely can and does. I highly recommend pushing past that desire to maintain control (and cleanliness!) because cooking together has provided my kids with life skills and all of us with great memories!

  37. Mickie says:

    Thank you so much for this, i think you and I were cute from the same cloth. I am pretty OCD about stuff. I wish I could let go but it sounds lime to me baby steps are in order. I read this post then moments later my 4 year old asked to make a treat. She picked the Lemonies (delicious!) i tried to let her do as many things as possible. She had a HUGE smile and was so excited to eat the treat! (She doesnt really like lemon stuff, but that day she did) so, like I said baby steps with get me there. Question though with your six year old. Do you just show him the recipe and let him gave at it? Or do you sit in the kitchen and tell him the recipe? I dont know if my 6 year old would know how to read a recipe well enough.

    • Mel says:

      Good question, Mickie – I definitely have to help my 6-year old navigate the recipe, especially the first time. With the brownie bites, he’s made them enough times that he kind of has a system down and knows what to do but he still gets confused with new recipes between teaspoon and tablespoon and when to add things. I’m always in the kitchen doing something else while he’s working on a recipe so it’s easy to double check and kind of coach him through it. That’s adorable about your daughter so excited about the Lemonies!

      • Mickie says:

        Okay Mel, i’ll do it. I’ll let him do 100% and see how it goes. Deep breaths… Hey why dont you bring your six your old here to teach MY six year old while we chat at the kitchen table. 🙂 eh? Let’s do it! 🙂

  38. April says:

    I love these little chats! You have inspired me, I am going to let go more. I let my kids help me, but I think I need to give them more freedoms. Thanks for giving me the confidence!

  39. Julie says:

    LOVE your blog, Mel! A friend told me about you three years ago and insisted I try your oatmeal pancake mix! Thank you for rocking my world these last three years! My family loves you and I’ve told TONS of people to check out your blog! I just felt the need to comment because one of my summer goals is to make a different candy recipe of yours each week with my 13 year old son. Last week it was roar beer float fudge and this week – cinnamon caramels! It is so fun candy making with him! Hope I don’t gain too much weight or I might have to start running!Anyway, thanks for all your hard work and for helping me grow as a better “cooker,” as my kids like to say. (Specifically in the area of yeast! Your yeast breads/rolls ROCK!) Oh and I always have some of the oatmeal pancake mix ready in the fridge!

  40. This comment thread is cracking me up – kitchen control freaks unite!! 😉 My three year old loves to cut softer foods with a plastic knife! We make an apple pie dip and I slice the apples and she dices them. Also: when I’m using one of those zesters, I always hold it the other way – so I would hold the orange still and move the (upside down?) zester on top, and it catches the zest. Makes it easy to scoop it out and measure it if you need a certain amount. I never even realized I’m doing it backwards but it might be a good method for your helpers!! 😉

  41. Julie says:

    Once again, you inspire me! Your kids are adorable, and I am amazed at how much they can do! I feel re-motivated to let my 5, 3, and 20 month old help me more, and I appreciate these tips. I look forward to more recipes and ideas about cooking with kids!

  42. Hillary says:

    This is such a great post. I have been super uptight about kitchen help in the past and this post is an inspiration. I have a 6 year old, 3 year old, and 3 month old (all boys) and they have loved helping me the last few days. I even got unsolicited hugs from my 6 year old. Thank you!

  43. Jamie says:

    I totally LOVE THIS!!! I love the whole concept. You’re amazing! I have been following you for years now, using your recipes all the time. Just came on this morning to check out your muffin recipe again, and saw this awesome series! I love cooking with kids… I think it’s so important for many reasons, and I’ve been wanting to share some ideas on my own blog about this… until I read your post and i realize how perfectly you have put it, that I may as well just send them here! 🙂 I will just share a link to this page on my post: http://www.whymoms.com/a-peel-ing-with-a-purpose-taking-time-to-teach/

  44. Lori says:

    I feel the exact way you did. You are an inspiration, Mel! I will make an effort to have the kids help, taking baby steps though 🙂

  45. Julie says:

    This is fantastic! My two-year-old always wants to see what mommy or daddy is doing in the kitchen and he really wants to be involved. I too was/am the “it’s easier to cook when I’m alone in the kitchen” person but I’m finding it’s actually easier now to just go with the flow and find little ways to let him help (even if it is just sampling each of the ingredients).

  46. Jessica hinson says:

    I looooove this! I started my twins in the kitchen super early. Evening s have always been fussy time so a large mixing bowl with a handful of oats and a few woodend spoons to practice with was great fun while I finished dinner. Family breakfasts are always messy but practice makes perfect and they’re getting better at measuring, porting and mixing! At 3 years old, we’ve made some Great kitchen memories and life stills!

  47. Tamara says:

    Hi Mel, I SO appreciate this post! My littles (3&5) often want to help in the kitchen and I’m always thinking that I don’t want the extra mess and the chaos that comes with it. After reading this post, I think I’m ready to have them help out with specific tasks more often 🙂 Thas so much for all the work you put into your blog. My family benefits from your delicious recipes at least 3 times a week. Our favourite is the Grilled Lime Chicken with Coconut Rice and your Sweet and Sour Chicken! Oh, and your chocolate chip cookies…and…I could go on and on!

  48. Meghan says:

    I love hearing about kids in the kitchen. My kids (ages 4 &2 help– sometimes)…they would help all the time if i let them but if I’m in a rush they don’t help. It does help mitigate the 5pm hungries though if I let them help. That’s wonderful your older kitchen can do some many things themselves!!

  49. Miss Teri says:

    Can’t wait to have a kitchen big enough for more than 1.67 people!!!!

  50. Teresa Larsen says:

    Hi Mel! I want to teach my kids how to cook. I love these tips for the littles but my teenagers are ready to cook on their own. Do have any recipes that are kid friendly and simple that you would recommend? Or better yet do you have a category for kid recipes?

    • Mel says:

      I don’t have a category necessarily specific to that…but I think any of the meals in the 30-minute category could probably fit the bill. I’ll try to take a more in-depth look and see if there are any specific ones I can share.

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