Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Kids in the Kitchen

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).

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 or see my other tips:
Behavior incentives
Road trips w/kids
Longer lasting cut flowers
Job charts
Kids' snacks
Sensory garden
Traveling w/baby


Totallyscrappy said...

My kids love to work in the kitchen. Thanks for the tips...

Kansas A said...

Great tips for the kitchen! In a pinch two plastic bags work for gloves when mixing meat :)

Summer said...

I love my kitchen scissors and aprons. My kids each have their own aprons they like to wear to help me cook and bake.

TracyMichele said...

I love the assign a cooking night idea! I awlays struggle with having both my 2 and 4 year olds trying to help while I get dinner ready. Thanks for the advice!

Karen said...

Great tips. I am thinking I have some rearranging to do now. :)

See my tips here.

athena said...

i'm going to have to come back and read this one again. i love all the tips and cooking recipes you share. we made more brownies, this time using chocolate chips. the kids loved it.

What Works For Us said...

Man i needed this post. I just can't keep my son busy when I'm in the kitchen. BTW, your blog and your story are awesome!

Corrie said...

All - glad to be of help

Summer - I love the kids in their little aprons, they feel so grown up and it shows in their faces

Athena - Your brownies look so much better than mine, how could they be the same recipe? Any pointers?

penguinsandladybugs said...

Great tips....thanks for sharing! I need to have my kids in the kitchen more!! Beautiful song in the background!!

grace said...

My daughter loves to be involved in kitchen activities. These are great tips.

I am including this post in the carnival of family life next week I am hosting.