Kid friendly Kitchen Tasks for Every Age | HappyCleans

a kid using a dough cutter

Posted on April 22nd, 2020

Learning to cook as an adult can be a herculean task for many but imagine if you had started learning to cook when you were just a toddler and then continued throughout your pre-teen and teenage years. Life would have been so much easier and healthier! Cooking your own meals often enables you to make healthier options than what you can find in restaurants and take-outs. Homemade meals are also cheaper and last you longer. It is still ok to enjoy the occasional restaurant visit or take-out on lazy days, however, home-cooking should be encouraged more. It is especially relevant at the moment with so many people working from their home office.


It is normal for parents to wonder what age is appropriate for their kids to start helping out with kitchen chores. You may be worried about them hurting themselves or doing the wrong thing, which is entirely normal. The truth is, the earlier kids start to engage in kitchen tasks, the better for everyone involved (including the kids). However, it is never too late to start – the most important thing is just starting.

Encouraging kids to start cooking from an early stage and engaging in kitchen tasks has so many benefits and cannot be overemphasized enough. It encourages family bonding and makes it easier for the children to continue the tradition with their own families later on in life. Teaching children to enjoy preparing meals and helping out with kitchen chores improves their self-confidence and encourages self-sufficiency.


There are kitchen tasks for every age group – there’s something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if your kids have passed a certain age group for kitchen tasks, start small and keep improving from there. It is easier to get them to begin participating in small ways rather than dumping huge tasks on them all at once.


For 2-5 Year-Olds

Kids in this age group are inquisitive and have large amounts of energy but a low attention span. They are also still developing their motor skills and working with their hands is their comfort zone. This may be a difficult time for parents and lots of patience is needed. They will need direct supervision at all times (do not leave them alone in the kitchen!). Find out what task they are most interested in doing from the list of kitchen tasks and work your way around it. For many kids in this age group, it is a great time to learn independence. Many of them want to try brushing their hair themselves or putting on their clothes and you can use that to your (and their) advantage by giving them tasks to complete without overly correcting their mistakes.


Some kitchen tasks for this age group are:

  • Loading the dishwasher and taking out the dishes from the dishwasher to the drying rack.
  • Setting the table for meals.
  • Stirring (with supervision).
  • Tearing leaves of vegetables such as lettuce for salads.
  • Mashing potatoes and other ‘mashables’.
  • Greasing pans.
  • Kneading dough (you would have to start the process first).
  • Using a salad spinner.


For 6-7 Year-Olds


Kids within this age group have now fully developed their fine motor skills and can take on more detailed work. They will want to show you that they are capable of doing more difficult tasks than the year before. At this age, they have also learned to read and write and are eager to show off everything that they learn at school. This will be a great time to introduce them to recipes and measuring cups and spoons. Encourage them to read recipes aloud with you and you can explain what each ingredient is. This will help them familiarize themselves with common ingredients in the home and will also help them to learn new words, pronunciations and spellings. Kids in this age group still need supervision and you may have to remind them about little things like how to hold the grater or use the potato peeler.


Some kitchen tasks for this age group are:

  • Using a potato peeler.
  • Cracking eggs (watch out for egg shells though).
  • Mixing dry ingredients.
  • Decorating plates and cups (DIY activity).
  • Rolling cookie dough or making meatballs.
  • Reading recipes aloud and identifying ingredients.
  • Slicing soft fruits and vegetables using a paring knife. Proper supervision is needed here. Also, ensure you show the child how to hold the knife and where to cut.


For 8-12 Year-Olds

Many parents love this age group for different reasons. The major one being that they can now read properly. They can also perform more tasks on their own with minimal supervision. They still need to be supervised and directed, but not as much as the previous age group. They are more independent and can perform every task from the previous age groups, however, it will be up to you to decide if they are capable of handling more difficult tasks like operating the cooker or oven. By the time they reach this age group, they will have decided which tasks they prefer doing and which they don’t. This is normal. Even adults have their preferred kitchen tasks. Making the not-so-fun tasks bearable for your budding chef will be key at this stage. This age group thrives on positive affirmations and encouragement. They will make mistakes but ensure that you don’t dwell on those mistakes for too long. Keep admonishments to a minimum and encourage more.


Some kitchen tasks for this age group are:

  • Peeling and cutting vegetables.
  • Making sandwiches and toast.
  • Preparing their school lunch (something simple).
  • Using a stand mixer.
  • Mixing batter and making pancakes.
  • Unpacking and putting away groceries.
  • Mixing a simple batter recipe such as muffins.
  • Using a skewer for food.


For 13 Years and Above

This age group are certified young chefs, having passed through the previous stages. They are now capable of working independently in the kitchen to perform certain tasks. They can make simple meals such as scrambled eggs or spaghetti. You would still need to supervise to ensure they use a knife correctly and also to ensure that they stick to kitchen rules. Basic hygiene procedures may need to be repeated such as washing hands before handling vegetables, using a chopping board to chop and turning off the stove when not in use. They can handle many tasks at this stage but ensure you don’t abuse it! Still keep things fun and engaging when in the kitchen and introduce fun cooking such as making ice cream and cookies rather than restricting things to just family meals. Also, teach them how to identify dishes that are microwave and dishwasher friendly.


Some kitchen tasks for this age group are:

  • Identifying kitchen gadgets and their different uses.
  • Basic cleaning skills such as how to load and empty the dishwasher, cleaning the stove and counter tops, taking out the trash, sweeping and mopping the floor.
  • Cooking on the stove. Start with simple meals such as scrambled eggs or boiled spaghetti.
  • Using sharp knives.


The key to keeping kids of all ages interested in kitchen duties, is to keep things light and fun. Tasks that seem difficult will tire anyone out. Also, encourage kids to take one day of the week to be “in charge” of the kitchen. This will further boost their confidence levels.