The Kitchen Think: Your Kids Are Sous Chefs!


Need some help in the kitchen, but your volunteers are barely able to see over the counter top? Don’t despair… put them to work!

I’ve said it again and again, but some of my best memories are of being with my kids in the kitchen. It’s where they can learn about food, as well as some very basic life skills.

They’ll also learn about kitchen safety and cleanliness, something that will serve them the rest of their lives. But, make sure you have the time to help them and you’re not rushing to get dinner on the table—otherwise this will be a pointless exercise. Remember, the first few times they assist you, they’re not going to know what to do!

Here’s a breakdown in age-appropriate tasks… all with adult guidance, of course:

Age 2: Kids can tear lettuce; pull herbs off of stalks (like rosemary and thyme); and place already-measured dry ingredients into a bowl.

Age 3: Stir ingredients; knead dough; cut cookies with a cookie cutter and pour measured liquids into a bowl.

Age 4 to 5: Cut soft fresh herbs, like cilantro and parsley, with dull scissors; fill celery stalks or top crackers with soft spreads; cut bananas, strawberries and other fresh fruit with a blunt knife.

Age 6 to 8: Clean and wipe down a table top; set the table properly; open cans; measure ingredients with a measuring spoon; crack an egg open; beat eggs with an eggbeater and begin to make simple recipes.

Age 9 to 12: Use a blender and other small appliances; chop fruits and vegetables; sauté, broil, bake and make pasta.

Kids like to eat what they’ve had a hand in preparing, so you might get them to try some foods they’ve vowed they’d never eat. Most important, you’ll get the chance to really be with them… to hear their stories and inner secrets. And, if you have more than one child helping you, learn how to stand back and just listen to the conversation between and among them.

That’s how Mama finds out what’s REALLY going on in their lives…


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: