Getting Kids Involved in the Kitchen
Darci Bell

Getting Kids Involved in the Kitchen

Cooking with kids can be rewarding, messy fun. This quality time allows children to learn new skills at a pace that works for them. When assigning kids kitchen responsibilities, consider age and maturity, to choose appropriate tasks. Let us help introduce your child to the world of cooking!

18 months to 3 years:

Kids can start getting hands-on in the kitchen at this age with close supervision. [1] Some tasks that they can do include:

  • Using cookie cutters
  • Brushing oil on vegetables or bread
  • Picking herbs off the stem
  • Pouring liquid or dry ingredients into a bowl

small children cooking together

4 to 5 years old:

Helping in the kitchen can allow kids the chance to put to use the fine motor skills that they are developing at this age. [1] [2] Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Rinsing fruits and vegetables in the kitchen sink
  • Cutting soft foods with a plastic knife
  • Peeling a hardboiled egg
  • Helping to set the timer

6 to 9 years old:

At these ages, kids can start to handle more challenging tasks that involve reading, counting, and using more complicated kitchen tools. [1] Some examples could be:

  • Reading recipes out loud
  • Measuring wet and dry ingredients using measuring cups and spoons
  • Using a can opener
  • Helping load and unload the dishwasher

father and daughter cooking together

10 to 12 years old:

In between these ages, kids are ready to become a little more independent in the kitchen. [2] Tasks that they can complete on their own may be:

  • Following a step-by-step recipe
  • Using a hand mixer
  • Boiling pasta and vegetables
  • Using a paring knife (and progressing to larger knives to cut or chop vegetables under supervision)

Note: You might find that some of these suggestions are either too advanced or too simple for your child. You know them better than anyone! These ideas can just serve as a guide as you begin to think about ways to get your kids involved.


When getting kids involved in the kitchen, you will want to make sure that they are learning food safety, as well. For tips on how to stay food safe with kids in the kitchen, see the infographic from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics below. [3]

food safety with kids infographic


Written by Darci Bell, RDN, LD, Ph.D. Student | Edited by Laurel Sanville, MS, RDN, LD

[1] The Kitchn

[2] Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

[3] Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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