The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Kids in the Kitchen!

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Kids in the Kitchen!)

It’s almost officially summer! ‘Tis the season for pool parties, backyard barbecues, camp, and having kids at home with hours of free time at their disposal. What to do with all that time! Or maybe their reading list is 2 pages long, and they’ll need a break now and then from all that summer homework. Whichever the case may be, getting them into the kitchen at a young age isn’t just a lovely way to spend time together, but it also teaches them skills that will serve them well when they’re all grown up and ready to be on their own.

The thing is, kids will be kids. Sometimes they like one thing, and the next moment, they don’t. Sometimes they need no prodding to join you in the kitchen, and sometimes, you have to find creative ways to get them back in there. If you find yourself running out of ideas for fun activities in the kitchen, this week’s Kitchen Talk is for you! We’re asking:

Do you have any fun ways to get the kids in the kitchen?

The photo above is from Natalie, and her lovely daughters have helped her make Customizable Breakfast Bread Bowls and even Ice Cream in a Bag. I love the idea of letting kids assemble stuff, and it’s always a treat to see how proud they are of their creations.

How about you? Do you have any favorite kid-friendly kitchen activities? Come share them below! Then maybe—just maybe—they’ll eventually take over the kitchen and we can all retire to a life of spa treatments and Downton Abbey marathons. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!



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Avatar of Shawna C

Shawna C on 6.20.2014

Oh I just thought of something that is really helpful if you want little ones to start baking or cooking: we have a short Ikea kids’ table and chairs and we set that up in the breakfast nook instead of a full-sized table and chairs when my kids were small. This gives a low surface for working on so they can comfortably reach/measure/mix/mash bananas/etc. It’s precarious to stand them on chairs at the counter, and I’ve seen special platforms for kids to use for that purpose, but we found it much more useful to bring the cooking down to their level, rather than them up to counter level. Since they were the ones who ate in the kitchen area the most anyway, it also made sense to have an eating surface at kid height. Now that they’re bigger we have a regular adult-table-height table we use, which is still lower than countertops which would still be too high for them to comfortably work at.

Laura in Little Rock on 6.19.2014

I grew up in a very traditional southern family. We cooked a lot, often and in great quantities and talked incessantly and happily. Dinner might be picked from the garden, defrosted from the deep freeze or an all-day affair. Luckily (for my health) I also grew up in a diabetic family, so finding ways to reduce fats, carbs (we called them “starches” back in the dark ages) and sugar was always fiddled with. I know my sister and I were baking cakes, pancakes and waffles at less than 10. My own kids started with helping, then frying an egg and then on to whatever suited their fancy and/or their capabilities. Sometimes their fancy doesn’t match their capabilities – we call that a learning opportunity and generally, a HELL OF A MESS!!!!
As a teacher, I wholly agree that cooking makes basic fractions MUCH easier. It’s clear how different fractions represent the same quantity and they can be reduced or increased. It’s all concrete and obvious when you’re faced with finite measurements and big containers of staple baking ingredients. I’m all for kids in the kitchen. I’m also all for a refill on my wine glass.

KrissyC EsMommy on 6.19.2014

My daughter “E” is 12, and has been helping in the kitchen since she could stand and hold a spoon. When she was really little it was mostly little things like getting a potato out of the bin, or grabbing some cheese from the fridge kinda thing. Just my little go-fer so to speak. lol. As she got older she started taking on more responsibility. She started mostly with measuring, then we would talk about how easy it is to cut a recipe in half or double it and work out the fractions together. By the time she was 5, she could easily double or half a recipe on her own…her teachers have always loved how well she adapts to fractions because of it. Cooking can be a great teaching tool! Very early on the egg slicer became her best friend, she used it to slice olives, mushrooms, eggs (duh) and other little things. Around 7 or so she started using a small knife, tho was always beside me when she did it. Now at 12, she can make simple things alone like stuffing or rice and helps me by cutting potato for meals, or peeling veggies for me using a veggie peeler. She’s also always by my side when baking and does most of the measuring and mixing on her own.
Personally, I think its great for kids to be in the kitchen. My siblings and I (there are 4 of us) grew up helping and by our early teens could handle simple meals alone, much to my mom’s delight. I find it helps with math greatly. Fractions are always at work when baking. Plus I think it helps kids to associate with their food better. The “I won’t eat this cus I don’t know whats in it” isn’t at play that way. lol. But I think kids are helpful even really early on, even it its just to fetch a spoon or a potato, or to count the number of taco shells to heat up. It helps them feel involved and it lets them spend some great bonding time with mommy and daddy. I find most of the best conversations I have with my daughter are when we’re working in the kitchen.
Good Luck with your daydreams of spas and marathons. A Downton Abbey marathon sounds great right about now. :)

Lorrie on 6.19.2014

I don’t think it’s necessary for kids to be in the kitchen. I hardly ever let my kids in the kitchen when they were little. The area was just too small and I thought it was too dangerous. Then once I started working it was just wanting them out of the way so I could hurry up and get dinner done when I got home. Don’t like people underfoot in the kitchen when I’m trying to cook. I worried that it would be a detriment to my kids when they got older but nope not at all. My oldest just moved out on her own and has been doing plenty of cooking and experimenting with cooking. She loves it. She’ll call me for tips. She must be doing just fine cause her roommates seem to enjoy her cooking. So for any of you all out there like me that feel it’s either unsafe to have kids in your kitchen, you don’t have a lot of time or whatever to have your kids in there with you don’t fret. They will manage just fine with they get out on their own!

Avatar of Natalie | Perry's Plate

Natalie | Perry's Plate on 6.19.2014

Thank you, Erika! :) I thought that little face looked familiar.

My kids LOVE to help in the kitchen, but now I have three trying to climb up on the counter to help on the same time. (ACK.) Just this morning the two older ones took turns playing with the baby while the other one helped me with breakfast. They love it!