The checklist: 33 tasks kids can do in the kitchen
Your kid can do a lot more than stir cookie dough! Get them started on a lifetime of cooking with these easy skill lists.
Trying to get your kids more involved in cooking can take a little planning - especially if you’re used to thinking of baking together as the main way to get children into the kitchen. What can kids do beyond stirring and pouring? Plenty! With these lists of kitchen skills, you'll be all set to figure out what your kid is ready to learn in the kitchen -- and how to level up their skills so that they keep cooking with confidence.
We’ve divided these tasks up by experience instead of age, and you’ll likely find that your child can do some of the items on multiple lists -- instead of sticking too hard to finishing a level, these lists should help you figure out what else your child might be ready to try. To read more about how to get your children interested in cooking with you, read our post on 6 easy ways to get children involved in the kitchen - and if you have very young children at home, start with these 10 easy recipes that toddlers can make.
These skills are the right fit for young children who are still developing hand strength and fine motor skills, and for kids who are pre-knife skills. (And when you're ready to learn how to teach your children knife skills, start here!)
- Stir cold things (batters)
- Mash with a fork or potato masher (think eggs, bananas or potatoes!)
- Tear greens
- Toss salad
- Pour pre-measured ingredients into a bowl
- Transfer scraps from a cutting board to a compost bin
- Transfer chopped vegetables (with very clean hands) to a bowl or cold pan. If you’re boiling vegetables, your beginner can also pour cold water into the pan.
- Melt butter or chocolate in the microwave (you may have to point at the right buttons to push)
- Rinse plastic utensils in a bowl
- Dry plastic utensils
- Push buttons for you on a hand blender or food processor (with your supervision)
- Put sprinkles on cookies
As children develop their hand strength and their control of cooking utensils, don’t forget to give them increasingly hard tasks to do! Many kids focus better when tasks are a little challenging, and trying new things in the kitchen helps build their confidence. Kids at this level can do most of the tasks on the beginner's list, plus the ones below:
- Wash fruits, veggies or beans in a standalone colander
- Spin-dry greens (some beginners can do this too, with a little help so that the lid doesn’t pop off!)
- Carefully stir hot food on the stove or in a slow cooker
- Cut tofu or firm vegetables like cucumber and zucchini in rounds with a knife
- Peel carrots or cucumber with a vegetable peeler
- Add pinches of flavouring
- Hand-juice lemons
- Shake vinaigrette
- Beat batters
- Wash dishes
- Make coffee for parents using a machine (note: be sure that this task only involves cold water!)
- And, depending on their reading level, can read measurements for a recipe
Kids at this level can do everything from both the beginner and intermediate levels, and in addition, have more confident knife and stovetop skills!
- Read instructions for a recipe, in addition to measurements
- Pour batter into a hot pan for pancakes or crepes
- Flip vegetables that are sauteeing, or pancakes that are ready for flipping
- Take things out of the oven wearing oven mitts
- Use a can opener
- Operate a hand mixer
- Make warm drinks
- Grate cheese (this is on the advanced list only because sharp graters can really scrape inexperienced fingers! Try to use a box grater, and show your kid when to stop grating)
- Keep developing knife skills: some ideas to try are firmer fruits like apples and pears, or firmer vegetables like potatoes.