The right stuff.

Offer wooden or plastic utensils. Consider switching glass measuring cups and bowls to plastic. Buy or make a kid-size apron.

Personal space.

Give your kids their own dedicated work area. Make it safe by removing glasses, sharp tools and raw eggs, meat and fish.

Safety first.

Turn pot handles in and away from the edge of the stove. Cook boiling liquids on the back burners. Keep your knife block out of reach at the back of the counter. And have everyone wash his hands before and after cooking.

Ooooh, pictures.

Start with a cookbook that has step-by-step instructions with photos or illustrations. It helps kids develop their ability to follow directions in order.

Keep it simple

—at least at first—with easy recipes that have just a few steps and ingredients.

Mess around.

Flour will be spilled. Clothes will get dirty. And that’s okay. But an apron on everyone doesn’t hurt.


  • Planning the meal.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables.
  • Shredding lettuce. They may have so much fun tearing up the lettuce that they might actually eat the salad.
  • Measuring. Teach your kids how to measure, and they’ll have mastered one of the fundamentals of baking—not to mention some cool math skills.
  • Stirring dry ingredients. Aprons are a good idea. You want them to stir the flour and baking powder and salt—not wear them.
  • Cracking eggs. Have kids crack their eggs into a separate bowl so you can remove any shells.
  • Separating eggs. What kid doesn’t love an opportunity to get his hands gooey?
  • Chopping. Herbs, peeled fruit and soft veggies like zucchini, cucumbers and mushrooms will yield to kid-friendly knife (even the plastic disposable kind).
  • Whisking.
  • Frosting a cake. Closely followed by “licking the bowl.”