From our great friends at the National Fire Protection Association:
Do you like helping out in the kitchen and cooking up tasty snacks for your friends and family? Preparing yummy treats can be lots of fun, but it’s important that kids who like to cook know how to be safe in the kitchen. These tips can help you figure out what you’re old enough to do on your own—and when it’s time to ask an adult for help.
Getting Started: Before you get cooking, you need to get a grown-up’s permission. If you plan to use a recipe, look it over with a grown-up first to decide what you can do on your own and what you need help with. And once you get started, never be afraid to ask for help. Even the best chefs rely on their assistants to help them out in the kitchen.
Helping Out is Fun: From mixing up cake batter to cutting shapes out of cookie dough, helping out a grownup in the kitchen can be lots of fun. So, if you’re not old enough yet to cook on your own, not to worry; being the chef’s helper is the most important job in the kitchen.
Cooking for All Ages: All kids are different—and a grown-up should always decide what is safe for you to do in the kitchen—but here are some guidelines that you can use.
Kids aged 3 to 5 can:
- Get ingredients out of the refrigerator
- Measure and mix ingredients together in a bowl
- Pour liquids into a bowl • Wash fruits and vegetables off under cold water
- Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of cookie dough or sandwiches
- Lick the cake batter off of a spoon (yum!)
Kids age 6 to 8 can:
- Open packages
- Use a butter knife to spread frosting, cream cheese, peanut butter or soft cheese
- Peel vegetables
- Measure ingredients
- Stir ingredients in a bowl
- Set the table
Kids age 9 to 12 can:
- Begin to follow a recipe
- Open cans
- Use electrical kitchen appliances, such as a microwave oven, when a grown-up is present
- Use a grater to shred cheese and vegetables
- Turn stove burners on and off and select oven temperature when a grown-up is present
- Help plan the meal
- Make a salad
Kids aged 14 and over can:
- Operate the stove or oven without an adult present
- Heat food up in the microwave without an adult present
- Drain cooked pasta into a colander
- Take a tray of food out of the oven