Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kitchen Safety for Kids

While cooking has a lot of positive teaching opportunities, we also cannot forget to teach basic kitchen safety. If we are particular about safety and continuously talk to them about it, it will stick and they carry it with them to pass it on to their young ones!

First lesson is for the adults – ask yourself 2 serious questions:

1. What do you think could be dangerous to a child in the kitchen

2. How do I make the kitchen safe while keeping the fun intact?

Now start kitchen safety by identifying and allocating age appropriate tasks


Two Year Olds are extremely exploratory – they have more power in their legs and hands. They touch anything and if they could, they would go anywhere. And they have short attention spans.

• Clean vegetables with brushes.
• Clean tables.
• Tear, break, and snap foods.


Three year olds a little more adventurous and more importantly they are growing and it is very important that they are given activities to stimulate and develop their motor skills and muscles at the same their brain is growing

This is make we can make them do in the kitchen

• Wrap foil around food.
• Wrap dough around meat or vegetable fillings
• Press dough into baking pan.
• Pour from small plastic pitchers. (Practice at the sink)
• Mix ingredients with hands or a wooden spoon (make sure that the container is twice the size of the amount of the mixture)
• Shake small jars of food.
• Spread foods using dull table knives or small spatulas.


Your four year old could cook if they allowed to! At this age, they have firm grasp of the use of their fingers and they have developed good motor coordination.

These activities in the kitchen will help them develop:

• Use fingers to peel eggs, oranges, corn, etc.
• Roll and flatten food.
• Mash foods.


Five year olds are ready to learn the real stuff. Teach them to use their hands and fingers properly and at the same time you can start introducing more serious subjects such as numbers, measuring, handling kitchen items and such.

These are some kitchen activities:

• Read to them from the recipe and help them measure ingredients.
• Cut soft foods.
• Teach knife safety: “Always supervise this activity”
Use a chopping board, a knife that fits their hands, and a plastic serrated knife for soft foods. Show how to hold a knife and cut safely. Teach them to keep the knife edge away. Show them what could happen if the knife cut their fingers.
• Turn a grinder.
• Grate food.
• Beat cake mixture or an egg with an egg beater.

We could as adults just not allow our kids to do any of the things above. For example- why teach them knife safety when it is easier and perhaps better in our minds just to keep them away from it all.

However, this is shielding the kids/over protective and we are not providing them with life skills. And that is why I think the kitchen is such a great place for us to teach these things – under supervision and the children are usually so busy having fun and doing their thing that they forget they are being taught. It will become natural for them to ensure safety later.

The kitchen can be dangerous and it is important that children are supervised while in the kitchen and allowed to do tasks that are age suitable for their age. I hope the above provides some a reference or checklist of ideas.

What do you think about teaching kids safety in the kitchen? Do you think there are more kitchen activities that can help with child safety?

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