Family Time: Kids in the Kitchen

Thanksgiving with Kids

Wondering how you can involve your young children in the kitchen this Thanksgiving (or during any family meal prep time)? There are many jobs for kids in the kitchen starting at 18 months. Here are two simple Thanksgiving meal dishes that your kids can practically do totally themselves.

Husking corn & mashing potatoes

These are both great activities for kids in the kitchen and a way to get in some quality family time. Your child will gain a sense of accomplishment, confidence, ownership, and feel so proud of what they have helped it. Bonus, it will encourage them to eat what they made!

 
kids in the kitchen
 

Activity Instructions:

Husking corn:

 ages 18 months and older

works on: building strength in their fingers and arms, as well as hands-eye coordination.

Directions:

This can be a messy activity, so you may choose for your child to husk the corn outside. Have a paper bag set up next to them for the husks, and a bowl for them to put the prepped corn into. You may need to loosen some of the husks for a younger child, as they can be rather tight. While they are pulling the husks off, you can count how many leaves cover the corn, you can talk about the plant they grow on, how they called corn on the cob and the different ways people eat corn.

Once the corns are prepped, they can wash off the corn to finish the full prep work. Now that the corn is fully ready, you can finish on with your favorite way to cook them.

kids in the kitchen
kids in the kitchen

Mashed potatoes:

Ages: 3 and older

Works on: Fine motor and dexterity as well as hand eye coordination.

Directions:

1.  Wash and scrub the potatoes. This part can be done with both younger and older sibling. My 18-month-old had fun with this part as well.

2.  Once the potatoes are cleaned, let your older child begin to peel them. Having them hold the potato in hand, while using a peeler in the other hand. This activity is not easy and can be quite a challenge. But challenge is good for them. Let them struggle a bit. Once my 4 year old started, she wanted to peel all the potatoes. She took a break and wanted to return to the activity later in the day.

kids in the kitchen

3. Once the potatoes are peeled, an adult should cut the potatoes in half, length-wise, to make them thinner.

4.  Once the potatoes have been thinned out, your older child can then use a plastic knife to cut the potatoes into smaller pieces.

5.  Have them transfer the pieces of potato into a pot of water (you can also give this last job to a younger sibling, which my 18-month-old was happy to tackle).

Once the potato pieces are in the pot, continue with your favorite mashed potato recipe.

Both of these recipes is an easy way to include kids in the kitchen and get that quality family time in. My kids have been helping me in the kitchen since they were 1-years-old and absolutely love it. Having them see the process from beginning to end motivates them to try new dishes and eat healthful foods. having kids in the kitchen not only works on social and emotional & fine motor skills, but it also helps with following directions, sequence of events, and math. Children learn when they are interested and engaged, simple activities with kids in the kitchen really touch on a wide array of skill sets.

kids in the kitchen
kids in the kitchen
kids in the kitchen

What do your kids like helping with in the kitchen? Do they prefer gathering ingredients, or mixing them all together? What are easy dishes you include your kids in the kitchen with?

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