Five Skills Children Can Learn in the Kitchen
Your kitchen can be a rich learning environment for your child. Children can build motor skills while stirring and pouring, expand their language skills during your conversations, and gain a sense of belonging as you work side by side to prepare food.   
So put on your aprons, wash your hands and start enjoying some fun learning time in the kitchen with your child
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Healthy Eating Habits   
Children are more likely to eat healthy foods if they get the opportunity to see, taste, touch, and smell them first. It might be messy at first as they squish and smash, but don't get discouraged. They will eventually take a taste and discover what they love.
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Math and Language Skills 
Children learn important math concepts as they measure liquids and use a child-safe knife to cut carrots into segments . Their descriptive language skills grow too as you talk with them about the fuzzy peach, the smooth apple, the green grapes and orange carrots.
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Physical Skills 
Stirring, chopping, and pouring are activities that help children develop fine motor skills. Choose safe, easy-to-use tools, such as plastic bowls instead of glass, plastic knives, and mixing spoons that they can handle. You'll be amazed at all the ways they can help.
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Self Confidence 
As your child masters different skills, they become aware of their abilities and are willing to try new things. Encourage success by breaking tasks into small, achievable steps. As they master one, move on to another and watch as their confidence grows day by day.
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Sense of Belonging
Children gain a sense of belonging when you have them work beside you in the kitchen. It may seem like more work at first, but the payoff is worth it. They will feel like an important contributor when the family enjoys food that they have helped prepare.
Here are some additional safety tips to keep in mind when cooking with children:
1. Wash hands before you begin, as needed during your cooking time, and after finishing your project.
2. Provide close supervision. Do not leave your child unattended, especially when using the stove/oven.
3. Use a sturdy step stool. Your child will be working hard and will need a sturdy surface to stand on.

Q. My 3-year-old either runs off into another room or is underfoot when I'm preparing a meal. I feel like she is old enough to help me in the kitchen, but I don't know how to start.
A.  A 3-year-old is very capable of helping in the kitchen. Start by having her crush crackers, squish avocados and wash vegetables. Then move on to slicing bananas and measuring ingredients. 
Set up the kitchen environment for success by having a step stool available to help her reach the sink and countertop. Gather tools that she can safely handle, such as plastic bowls, a child-safe plastic knife, and mixing spoons that are not too cumbersome for her small hands.  
Offer guidance along the way. Remember, it's okay to tell her that she isn't old enough for some tasks and remind her that there will be new opportunities as she becomes more accomplished.

Do you have a question or a topic you'd like us to explore? 
Contact Parent Services at  PSstaff@ndchildcare.org  or call 800-997-8515

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