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20 Ways Your Preschooler Can Help In The Kitchen

 

I call 5:30pm the “Witching Hour” in our house because I am usually up to my elbows in raw hamburger, my husband is texting me that he will be home late, the dog is scratching at the back door to be let out, and Sweet Pea is invariably whining about some article of lost doll clothing that she needs my help finding Right. This. Instant!

In an effort to cultivate a more pleasant household, I have started forcing allowing Sweet Pea to help me with the dinner time meal preparation.   At first it was hard to come up with things for her to do and I just felt like I was going out of my way to keep her busy.  But lately, I have noticed that she is actually helping me get dinner on the table faster.  So if getting dinner ready is terrible time for your household too, consider allowing your tot to help you.
 
It may take several lessons from you before your tots are able to do a task independently, but it is well worth taking the time to teach them.  Here are some things you may not have considered that they could do:

1. Set the table.

 
2. Get out the cooking equipment (measuring spoons, whisks, cutting boards etc) and set them on the counter.

3. Juice lemons and limes with a reamer.

 

4. Strain seeds out of citrus juice.

 

5. Scrub potatoes or veggies at the sink with a soft brush.

6. Peel cucumbers, parsnips and carrots.  (Be sure to give your tot several explicit lessons on holding one end of the vegetable with one hand and peeling AWAY from himself with the other hand.)

7. Slice mushrooms, butter and soft cheeses with a table knife.

 

8. Cut the ends off of a green onion with a table knife and then peel off the outer layer to clean them.

9.  Use a spoon to remove the seeds from a cucumber.

 

10. Wash lettuce or herbs and pull the leaves off of the stems (parsley, cilantro, thyme, etc).

11. Use a salad spinner to dry lettuce, greens and herbs.

 

12. Toss coleslaw or salad with dressing.

 

13. Whisk together liquid ingredients for marinades and dressings.

 

14. Whisk together dry ingredients like flour, baking powder and salt.

15. Crack eggs into a bowl. (And I speak from experience when I say that this is best done in the sink. lol.)

16. Mix together batters or stuffing with a small spatula or a chopstick.  (Letting your tot use a large spoon is just another way of asking him to fling batter on the ceiling.)

 

17. Spoon thick batter into muffin tins.  (If the batter is thin, you should just do it yourself because your tot will get more on the counter than in the muffin cups.)

 

18. Add sugar, salt or other spices.  

 

19. Mix together dry herbs and spices for rubs.

20. Sort through beans and throw out small pebbles, clods of dirt or any misshapen beans.

 

So what are you waiting for?  Get your tots into the kitchen and put them to work!  🙂  

Have I missed anything?  What does your tot do to help you with food preparation?

Notes from the Trenches:

Whenever I start cutting up an onion, Sweet Pea drops what she is doing and flees the kitchen because it makes her eyes sting.  

And she still can’t manage to squeeze my garlic press.

Rating: 4 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent, Frugal)

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♥ Linky Love ♥:  My favorite color is blue and I love Melissa from Pigtail Pals: Redifine Girly‘s crusade to convince the world that colors are for everyone.

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