Tips and Tricks for Kids of all ages in the Kitchen

Cooking is fun and for everyone! We share tips and tricks for getting your Kids into the Kitchen at all ages.

How can you best structure your kids helping in the kitchen at home at a developmentally appropriate level?  Each of our budding chefs across all age groups learns differently. One thing that is certain is that everyone is curious about food, ingredients and tools starting at a very young age.  This continues our entire lives and what better way to live a long and happy life than knowing how to feed your body and soul with a life-skill everyone should possess…cooking!

Let’s jump right in…

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Cooking Tasks for 2-3 Year Olds

At the youngest age group, kids need high supervision in your Kitchen at home. Focus on basic tasks and they’ll do just fine. Toddlers can get involved in the kitchen with the following activities:

  • Setting the table
  • Squeezing lemons
  • Learning to match the silverware as you empty the dishwasher
  • Using the salad spinner
  • Picking the leaves off fresh herb stems
  • Gentle stirring
  • Mashing potatoes

Budding chefs ages two to five are so much fun!  

They love colors, textures, smells and tools (toys).  Let’s say we create a healthy and delicious chocolate zucchini muffin which contains great healthy and whole ingredients.  This recipe allows him/her to identify the ingredients by use of colors, tastes and smells. For example, by asking them to point to the green vegetable and then naming it they quickly learn to identify zucchini or asking them to taste the honey and teach them where we get that ingredient along with fun sounds (buzzzzz goes the honey bee) chefs with in this 2-5 age group quickly become independent and possess many culinary basics to set them up for future growth in the kitchen. This age group is also the best time to introduce ingredients that many kids aren’t familiar with or don’t like and add it to a delicious recipe.  It helps them develop their palate and be open to add that ingredient again or others that resemble it (green) without a fuss.

At this age kids can also be shown how to be:

  • Stirring independently
  • Setting the table
  • Putting away pots and pans from the dishwasher or drying rack
  • Greasing pans (with help)

Our school age budding chefs ages 6 - 11

Some of the things you can teach them to do at ages 6-8 are:

  • Dicing and mincing vegetables (use a pairing knife and start with soft foods like strawberries)
  • Peeling raw potatoes with a peeler
  • Slicing and scooping avocados
  • Greasing pans
  • Using a microplane zester
  • Draining and rinsing canned beans
  • Pouring liquids into containers
  • Decorating dishes

And for 8-11 year olds:

  • Using a pizza cutter can opener
  • Scooping batter into muffin cups
  • Scraping down the batter
  • Using the stand mixer
  • Putting away leftovers
  • Rinsing dishes and loading the dishwasher
  • Pounding chicken
  • Skewering food
  • Make sandwiches and wraps
  • Chopping most foods (nothing much bigger than a paring knife or small serrated knife)
  • They might be mature enough to do some tasks on the Stove, (with supervision)

As they reach the age of 10-11, they may be able to do Scrambled Eggs and other basic food preparation.

Their level of focus and independence is higher as well as their knowledge and ability with food. Using the same recipe, we begin to ask this age group which tool we should use to prepare the zucchini? A grater! Right! Which size grate should we use and how will it affect the taste and texture of our muffin and in which order should we combine the ingredients to get the best result? What are some cousins of the zucchini and do you think they would be delicious in this recipe too? Pumpkin would be a great substitute, or in the Summer a nice cantaloupe muffin instead. 

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Our tween and teen budding chefs are amazingly creative!  

For this chocolate zucchini muffin recipe, we encourage this group to think outside the box and use different ingredients to make their own signature recipe.  Examples would be to use both cocoa powder and dark chocolate, add some flax or chia seeds for a more robust texture and added health benefits, or make a standard size muffin instead of a mini as an energy packed super food for a quick breakfast before school.

Same recipe, infinite learning!  Get into the kitchen with your kids and have some fun learning new things together while making memories, creating healthy recipes and promoting independence and life skill building.  

Share the love of cooking from an early age and help Kids grow into Great Chefs as they get older!

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (minis!)

  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 3T whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ T cocoa powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ c light brown sugar
  • 2 T honey
  • ½ banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ T vegetable oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 oz zucchini, grated
  • ¼ c + 2 T chocolate chips

​​Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease mini muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

In a separate large bowl, beat together brown sugar, mashed banana, egg, vegetable oil and vanilla.  Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet then stir in grated zucchini and chocolate chips until incorporated.

Use a mini cupcake scoop to place batter into prepared mini muffin tins.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until the centers are set. Allow to cool before service.  Enjoy!

Taste Buds Kitchen Girls

From single days to week long camps, The Taste Buds Kitchen is always active with classes and camps. These hands-on cooking events are great opportunities for budding chefs to show their full potential and break out into the culinary scene while whipping up batches of fun.

They have everything from Parent & Child (caregivers included) Cooking classes to fun Camps for School aged kids during the School Breaks.

Younger children ages 2-8 focus on kitchen basics like mixing, measuring, tasting and safety while having fun in the kitchen.  

Older chefs ages 9-teen learn more independence in the kitchen as we focus on advanced techniques, challenges, blind taste tests and more. 

Visit our local Taste Buds Kitchen online to see their upcoming schedule.

Register online, stop by the kitchen or call them anytime at 214-504-2293 They are located at 7200 Independence Pkwy. Ste. 238, Plano, TX 75025.

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Abbie

Hi, I’m Abbie, super mom, and busy-bee who moved to Plano from London, England with my husband and 2 kids, Jesse and Lucy, in the Summer of 2013. Plano Moms was my lifeline when I arrived as I didn’t know anyone or anything about my new city that I now called home. Where did I start to make friends and meet moms like me? How did I know who were the best hairstylists, or dentists or pre-school options for my kids? Which area should I look for to find the right home and school for my son? All these questions were answered by Plano Moms, like me. I found a lifeline in it and chose to build it into the community it is today – 15,000 moms sharing ideas, tips, referrals and making connections with each other through Social Media, Planomoms.com, events & regular email newsletters! When I’m not being a Plano Mom or being a taxi service to my kids, I am coaching & consulting local businesses, working out, cooking and reading (when I find the time!)

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