Age appropriate activities for children in the kitchen
Child & Adult Care Food Program
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