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:
Road trips w/kids
Longer lasting cut flowers