Mini Master Chefs – 6 Essential Kitchen Skills to Teach Your Kids

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There is no age limit for a good cook. Children are now competing in televised cooking, and baking competitions creating dishes and treats that many adults could never assemble. If you don’t need a mini Master Chef but would like to get your child more comfortable in the kitchen, below are six essential skills you can teach them.

1. How to Use the Stove

Your child may have been fascinated by the stove since they were a toddler, but around age six you can start teaching them how to cook with it. Help your child with turning the stove on and off and explain the various levels of heat available. While you are there, make sure to enlighten them about the correct position of handles so that they avoid heating them up or knocking them over. When they start cooking, increase the odds of a successful meal by providing the best cookware available.

2. Measuring Ingredients

Learning how to measure ingredients correctly is something some adults have never done, but an essential skill if you want to teach your child how to follow a recipe accurately. Liquids are measured in a different way than dry ingredients, and some ingredients you pack down into a measuring spoon while you gather others lightly. You can begin to demonstrate how to measure each component when your children are as little as three.

3. Knife Skills

It is essential that children not only understand how a knife should be used but also develop the appropriate respect for the tool. At about age five, you can begin to teach your child how to hold a soft fruit such as a banana with a claw-like grip to keep their fingers out of the way while cutting with a forward-rocking motion. During your training sessions, you can also explain how knives should be carried and by whom they should be used.

4. Meal Planning

Help your child get a healthy understanding of food by allowing them to plan meals as early as seven years old. Explain that a meal needs to include a source of protein, a type of carbohydrate and a vegetable or fruit, then allow them to assemble their own lunch to start with. As they become more comfortable with the concept and grow older, challenge them to plan a meal for your family.

5. Grating, Zesting, Kneading, Folding

By age 8 kids should be able to distinguish between the types of actions a recipe calls for and perform them safely with the required tools. Work with them through both cooking and baking, asking them what the different instructions mean and how to perform them. The more repetition, the better.

6. Recipe Math

Around the age of 12, your child should be comfortable with math concepts like addition, multiplication, and fractions. Invite your little math whiz into the kitchen to help you double a cookie recipe and practice all of the different math equations that challenge contains. Once they feel comfortable, try cutting a recipe in half. Teaching your child that recipes are not static will allow them to become more adventurous as they approach recipes because they will understand that they are flexible.

Your child may never aspire to be the next Master Chef, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be competent in the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to show them how to use the stove, measure ingredients, perform the various actions a recipe calls for, and the correct way to use a knife. If you encourage them to plan meals early and help you with recipe math, they will be unstoppable!

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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