Lessons From The Kitchen

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I always found it humorous that children love doing the things that we as adults hate to do & vice versa. They fight naps & taking a baths while these are things that I dream about. Doing dishes & sweeping the floor are not my favorite activities in the world, but yet my daughter can’t wait to get her hands wet & pick up a broom. Children like to emulate what they see their parents doing. My daughter like many little girls has a play kitchen. She spends many hours a week cooking up delicious meals for mommy & daddy.

I used to find it difficult to prepare meals & clean up the kitchen with Mai running around. I realized the easiest way to get things done was just to involve my daughter. Cooking with my daughter is not only a fun bonding activity that we can share, but it also has a lot of learning opportunities as well.


1. Measurements –  From as young as I can remember one of our daughter’s favorite toys has been our measuring cups & spoons. Now that she is older, she has learned that they are also used for other things. Show your child the different size cups & spoons & explain to them what each one is.  Let them scoop and measure. Assist them for accurate measurements. Let them pour the measured substance into the mixing bowl or dish.

2. Following Directions – Toddlers are not always the best at listening or following directions. Our daughter is no different, but when we are engaged in an activity such as cooking or baking, she is surprisingly attentive. Explain what needs to be done in each step & let them help with anything that she can do safely. Offer them encouraging pointers along the way.

3. Hand eye coordination – All of that pouring & measuring requires a little bit of dexterity. It may take some time, but with practice you will see their abilities grow. Our daughter has become great at pouring.

4. Counting – This is an especially fun side activity while you cook. If you are working with items such as chick peas, lentils, pasta or chocolate chips ask them to count out a small number of them for you. My daughter loves counting and separating.

6. Teamwork – A lot of toddlers wrestle with asserting their independence. This is a wonderful thing, but it also important for them not to lose sight of being able to work together as a team. Cooking and baking is also a great bonding moment for you & your child or your whole family.

7. Reading labels – Reading does not always have to be in just your children’s bedtime stories. Take every opportunity that you can to read to your toddler and point out new words. If you are following a recipe, read it aloud and point out the words and pictures.

8. Home Economics – Let’s not forget the main task at hand which is to cook or bake something fabulous. At an early age your child is learning basic principles in cooking. Hopefully this will encourage a love for cooking and maybe someday they will be fixing you gourmet dinners & desserts.

9. Responsibility – Making a mess in the kitchen is the fun part, the clean up after leaves something to be desired. Throwing away trash, wiping down the counters and doing the dishes are chores that I could do without, but like I said before our children seem to love this part. That sets a good foundation for chores in the future.




  1. My 4yo son has “cookery” once a week at school. All the kids love it and learn so much from it. Yesterday they made brownies. Last week they made their own play dough! He was so proud!

  2. I attribute my love of cooking to spending many days on the counter in my grandmothers kitchen 🙂 my boys absolutely love to be involved in cooking with my husband and I! I hope this will continue throughout their lives. They’re actually getting a play kitchen for Christmas with lots of $1 cooking utensils from the kitchen store! Shh 😉

    1. That is great! I miss cooking with my mom. Those are good memories to have. The play kitchens are great. We have a nice one. The funny thing is my daughter still rather use all of our cooking stuff. Lol. She like our rice cooker especially.

  3. I plan on getting X involved in the kitchen as some of our September activities. I’m a little worried (I make enough of a mess alone!) but it should be fun and great learning for him! How old was your daughter when you first started cooking with her?

    1. She was just a little before 2 when we started. We started with dishes first, just her sippy cups and her own plates, of course doing utensils and glass on my own. On her 2nd birthday she got a safety stool and that was a god send. She now help measure, pour, mix. For cookies, I let her make the cookie cutter shapes and we just shucked corn for the first time all three of us yesterday. She loves helping. When I start dinner, she will jump right up on her stool and say “Mai can do it.” Lol!

  4. Indeed, getting young kids involved in the kitchen or grocery shopping, is a great way to get them interested in food while spending quality time together. We have had a lot of fun with our twins in the kitchen. It is also important to give them praise at the table for their great help; it gives them a lot of happiness and makes them more willing to help out next time. It also encourages them to try new foods.

    Thank you for these wonderful tips and reminding us again of this awesome technique to nurture healthy habits right from the start!

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