Hey Dads: Mother’s Day is a great day to give mom a break and spend some time in the kitchen baking for Mom! No matter what age your kids, you can get them involved in making a great Mother’s Day treat. Each child is different, but here are some general guidelines for what each age group can accomplish in the kitchen:
Kitchen Tasks for Kids, by Age Group
Toddler (18 months to 3 years):
- Pour pre-measured ingredients into a mixing bowl
- Stir batter
- Helping roll pie-crust or cookie dough
- Transfer ingredients from one bowl to another (for example, have your toddler move sliced fruits or vegetables from a cutting board to a serving bowl)
- Some toddlers may be able to use a dull, plastic knife to cut soft foods like bananas or an egg-slicer to slice a peeled hard-boiled egg. Don’t expect uniformity yet!
Pre-School (3 to 5 years):
- Peel hard-boiled eggs
- Cut soft foods with a dull knife (bananas, butter, avocado, strawberries)
- Peel bananas
- Peel oranges
- Use a citrus juicer
- Scoop and pour dry ingredients using measuring cups or spoons
- Pour wet ingredients into a mixing bowl
- Use cookie or biscuit cutters
- Mash potatoes or other soft foods
- Add sprinkles to cookies
- Use a butter knife to spread peanut butter, jelly, etc. onto bread or crackers
- Some pre-schoolers may be able to successfully crack eggs, too
- Use a hand-crank apple slicer/peeler/corer (with supervision)
- Put food into a blender, keeping fingers away from blades (parent will turn on blender)
- Help load the dishwasher
Early Elementary Age (5 to 9 years):
- Count and measure ingredients
- Read easy recipes
- Crack eggs
- Whisk eggs
- Frost cookies or cupcakes
- Use a microwave (with supervision)
- Pour muffin batter into muffin tins
- Form cookie dough into uniformly sized cookies
- Depending on your child’s experience level in the kitchen, he or she may be able to handle small, sharp knives, vegetable peelers, graters/shredders, or even cook with heat. Use your discretion and comfort level, and start slowly when you have attention and time to spare
- Use a sharp knife to cut semi-soft fruits and vegetables like oranges, grapes, zucchini, kiwi
- Use kitchen scissors to cut herbs
- Use a vegetable peeler (with supervision)
- Use a grater/shredder (with supervision)
- Use a blender/food processor (parent should clean)
- Use specialty appliances that get hot, like a waffle iron, sandwich press, or electric grill
- Pour and flip pancakes on a griddle
- Make scrambled eggs on the stove (if you are uncomfortable letting your child use the stove, use the microwave)
- Use hot pads to put cookie sheets or pans in the oven
- Help hand-wash dishes, avoiding very sharp and heavy dishes
Pre-Teen (10 to 12 years):
- Again, depending on your child’s experience level in the kitchen, he or she may be able to handle sharp and/or hot tools. Use your discretion
- Read and follow basic recipes with little or no guidance or help
- Use appliances that get hot, including the stovetop and oven
- Chop firm vegetables or fruits, like carrots, apples, onions, etc.
- Boiling eggs or pasta
- Making grilled cheese sandwiches
- Wash dishes
Teenager (13 on up):
- Completely read and follow simple recipes
- Read and follow more complex recipes with little or no guidance
- Use heat and sharp tools
- Clean up the kitchen after using it
With an understanding of what your child can accomplish in the kitchen, you can plan to make a brunch of champions for Mom this Mother's Day! Here's a step by step guide for you:
Mother’s Day Brunch Plan:
- Brunch Cake
- Scrambled Eggs
- Rainbow Fruit Skewers
- 1 1⁄4 cup butter or margarine softened
- 1 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 can Solo or 1 jar Baker any flavor filling
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- Pre-Heat Oven to 350° F (Early Elementary and older)
- Grease and flour 9 x 13-inch pan and set aside
- Pre-Schoolers: Give your child a tablespoon of butter in a paper napkin or piece of paper towel and have them rub it all over the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Early Elementary aged children: Either use the butter and napkin method, or let them use some cooking spray. They can also shake the flour in the baking dish.
- Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Toddlers: After the adult cuts the softened butter or margarine into pieces, have the child transfer the pieces to the mixing bowl. The toddler can also help pour pre-measured sugar into the mixing bowl.
- Pre-Schoolers: The child can use a dull knife to cut the butter or margarine into pieces, and help scoop the sugar with measuring cups and pour it into the mixing bowl. The child can also use a fork or help an adult use a handheld beater to beat the ingredients until light and fluffy.
- Early Elementary aged children: The child can measure out the appropriate amount of butter or margarine, cut it into pieces, and use the microwave to soften it (if needed). The child can also measure out the appropriate amount of sugar and vanilla, add it to the mixing bowl, and use a fork to mix the ingredients together. If using a hand beater, the child may need help, but should be able to do much of the beating themselves.
- Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Pre-Schoolers: The child can help crack the eggs into the mixing bowl.
- Early Elementary aged children: The child can crack the eggs into the mixing bowl and beat the ingredients.
- Stir in flour and mix until blended.
- Toddlers: The child can help pour pre-measured flour into the mixing bowl, and help stir.
- Pre-Schoolers: The child can help scoop the flour with measuring cups and pour it into the mixing bowl. The child can also help stir the resultant batter.
- Early Elementary aged children: The child can measure out the appropriate amount of flour, add it to the mixing bowl, and use a fork to mix the ingredients together. If using a hand beater, the child may need help, but should be able to do much of the beating themselves.
- Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
- Pre-Schoolers: The child can use a spoon to help transfer the batter into the pan.
- Early Elementary aged children: The child can pour the batter into the pan, and use a spatula to spread it evenly throughout.
- Drop filling by spoonfuls on top of the batter.
- Pre-Schoolers and up: The child can help spoon the filling and drop it onto the prepared batter.
- Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
- Early Elementary and older: Use your discretion, but your child can use hot pads and help you put the pan in the oven. The child can also stick the baked cake with a toothpick or cake tester and look for evidence of crumbs or uncooked batter.
- Cool completely and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
- Pre-Schoolers and older: Can help use a fine mesh sieve to sprinkle sugar over the cake.
- Cut into pieces and enjoy.
- Early-Elementary and older: Give your child a fractions problem and instruct them to cut a specific number of pieces. See if they can figure out how to cut it into approximately equal sized pieces!
- 2 eggs/adult + 1 egg/child
- Oil to coat the pan
- Optional add-ins:
- Shredded cheese
- Diced vegetables of your choice (onion, pepper, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes)
- Diced bacon or ham
- Crack eggs into a mixing bowl
- Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers: With help or supervision, child can crack the eggs into the bowl
- Early-Elementary aged children and older: Child can count out correct number of eggs and crack them into the bowl.
- Break yolks and whisk eggs until thoroughly mixed
- Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers: With help or supervision, child can whisk eggs successfully.
- Early-Elementary aged children and older: Child can successfully complete this task alone.
- Optional: Prep add-ins (shred cheese and dice vegetables) and add to eggs
- Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers: Have children transfer chopped vegetables and cheese into mixing bowl
- Early-Elementary aged children and older: Have children help shred cheese and chop vegetables (use your discretion), and mix into egg mixture.
- Heat oil in a pan
- Early-Elementary aged children and older: Measure oil and pour in pan. Turn on stove.
- Pour egg mixture into the pan and stir with a wooden spoon until cooked through
- Pre-Schoolers: Remove the pan from the heat, and help child pour eggs into pan.
- Early-Elementary aged children and older: With supervision, have child pour eggs into pan and stir eggs while they cook. Use your discretion. With younger children, if you are using a gas stove, turn off stove before pouring eggs into pan.
- Divide servings onto plates.
Rainbow Fruit Skewers
- Pick one Red Fruit: Strawberries, Watermelon, Raspberries
- Pick one Orange Fruit: Canteloupe, Mango, Oranges
- Pick one Yellow Fruit: Pineapple, Banana
- Pick one Green Fruit: Green grapes, Kiwi, Honeydew
- Pick one Blue Fruit: Blueberries, Blackberries
- Pick one Purple Fruit: Red grapes, Plums
- Wooden kebab skewers
- Cut fruit into bite sized pieces
- Toddlers: Can peel bananas, if using. Can wash berries, if using.
- Pre-Schoolers: Can peel bananas and mandarin oranges, if using, and can cut soft fruits like banana.
- Early-Elementary and older: Can peel and cut all fruits
- Put one piece of each color fruit on each skewer, in rainbow order
- Toddlers: Might be able to identify and hand you each color fruit as you ask for it.
- Pre-Schoolers and older: Should be able to accomplish this, with supervision