No doubt, one of the best parts about any holiday celebration is all the delicious food! But cooking large holiday meals for occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas is a lot of work, especially when you’ve got kiddos.
Why not harness your kids’ energy and excitement surrounding the holidays by getting them to help in the kitchen? Making holiday meals together with your kids is the perfect time to share traditions and create memories. Not to mention, they’ll have fun while learning important life skills.
Here are some easy ways your little chefs can help in the kitchen during the holidays.
Wash fruits and vegetables Kids love any activity with water! After the grocery shopping is finished, let your kids help you get a head start on your meal prep by washing all your fruits and vegetables. A sink or wash tub full of potatoes, brussels sprouts, cranberries, or carrots is a water sensory activity they’ll enjoy and will also check items off your to-do list. Peel and cut fruits and vegetables Older children can assist with peeling and cutting fruits and vegetables under close supervision. Once they learn how to safely use sharp tools, your kids can even turn an activity like peeling potatoes into a contest. Today, you can even get kid-safe knives to help reduce the risk of injuries. Prepare herbs and spices Your little ones can use their little fingers to do careful tasks like picking leaves off the stems of fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, thyme, or rosemary. They’ll have a ton of fun pounding any dry spices you need with a mortar and pestle, too. And of course, your kids will love exploring all the different scents and flavors that each of your seasonings add to your dishes. Measure, sift, and mix Teaching your kids how to measure ingredients is a fun way to explore concepts they’ve learned in math like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions. Once they’ve helped you measure, let them sift and mix everything together. Seeing how so many things come together to create everything on your menu will help them appreciate their favorite holiday foods. Knead and roll dough Of all the things your kids will love doing in the kitchen, playing with dough is sure to be at the top of the list. Kneading and rolling dough is like working with clay that you can eat! Try giving them some cookies cutters, rolling pins or butter knives to play with while they work.
Grate cheese For many families, no holiday meal is complete without macaroni and cheese. Grating cheese is one task your kids might actually fight over! That’s partly because we all know the rule —whoever grates the cheese gets to taste it, too!
Press buttons There are so many gadgets and gizmos in our kitchen these days. Your kids will get a thrill out of pressing buttons on appliances, and helping you set and watch timers. Toddlers will feel like the head chef in your kitchen when you let them help with these tasks. Add finishing touches During the holidays, we try to make sure each item we prepare is extra special. Let your kids sprinkle ingredients like salt, sugar, citrus zest, or fresh herbs to help garnish your dishes, or heap whipped cream on pies and other sweet treats. They’ll feel proud knowing that the meal isn’t complete until they’ve added their finishing touch! Taste test! The most essential part of preparing any holiday feast is taste testing! Your little cooks will have no problem helping you with this one. Let them know that they’ll get to taste test what they help you make to help get them excited about cooking as a family. (As a bonus, this will also help prevent hungry cries of “When’s dinner gonna be ready?!” throughout the day!)
Nothing tastes better than meals made with the ones we love. And all of your kids’ hard work in the kitchen will be sure to put them on Santa’s good list during the holiday season! For more tips to help you and your family create magic that you can celebrate forever, don’t forget to subscribe.