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What's Up Magazine

Kids in the Kitchen on Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2011 05:12PM ● By Anonymous

Two-year-olds are still learning to use the large muscles in their arms, so scrubbing vegetables and fruits is a great task for them. They can also be responsible for tearing lettuce and salad greens, snapping fresh beans, and breaking the bread for stuffing. Two-year-olds can also be helpful in wiping the table off before and after eating.

Three-year-olds are learning to use their hands a little more, so activities like pouring liquids into a batter, mixing batter, shaking up liquids that need to be mixed, spreading jam or peanut butter on bread (you may have a mess on your hands after), and kneading bread dough will be fun and exciting for any kids that age.

For four and five-year-olds, activities that involve controlling smaller muscles in their fingers are more appropriate. These can include mashing soft fruits and vegetables, rolling bananas in cereal for a quick snack, juicing oranges, lemons, and limes, and measuring dry and liquid ingredients.

Although spending time with your kids in the kitchen is a great way to really make the most of your holiday, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The children should know that they are to wait until the dish is finished before tasting it. Tell them very clearly that any sneaking bites may make them sick from uncooked foods.

Allow some extra time in the schedule for spills and messes. Kids are, of course, still growing, so they’re going to make some mistakes. Remember to be patient. Giving them quick, simple jobs and telling them what to do step by step one at a time will help them stay focused despite their short attention spans, but remember that they need to be supervised at all times.

Cleanup is also an excellent way to involve kids in the cooking process, because simple jobs like wiping counters or placing dishes in the sink teach them a valuable lesson about responsibility and cleaning up after a task while also helping you out a little!

—Catherine Irwin