Age appropriate activities for children in the kitchen

Child & Adult Care Food Program

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Kids in the kitchen – age appropriate activities

Use the following guidelines to select age-appropriate activities.

Two year olds can develop their large arm muscles in the following activities:

  • Clean vegetables with brushes.
  • Clean tables.
  • Wash dishes.
  • Tear, break and snap foods.
  • Dip foods into dips.

Three year olds can develop hand muscles in the following activities:

  • Wrap foil around food.
  • Wrap dough around meat or vegetable fillings to make many cultural dishes.
  • Press dough in a baking pan.
  • Pour from small plastic pitchers.
  • Mix with hands or a wooden spoon in a container twice the size of the amount of the mixture.
  • Shake small jars of food.
  • Spread foods using dull table knives or small spatulas.

Four year olds can develop fine motor coordination in these activities:

  • Use fingers to peel eggs, oranges, corn, etc.
  • Roll and flatten food.
  • Juice fruits.
  • Crack eggs with a table knife.
  • Mash foods.

Five year olds can develop fine motor coordination in these activities:

  • Measure ingredients.
  • Cut soft foods.
  • Teach knife safety: using a cutting board; using a knife that fits in their hands; using a plastic serrated knife for soft foods; showing how to hold a knife and cut safely. Always supervise when children are using knives.
  • Turn a grinder.
  • Grate food
  • Beat with an egg beater.

Adapted from: Why Do We Eat What We Eat, Ohio Cooperative Extension Service

Updated August 8, 2017 4:30pm