Kids can help in the kitchen beginning at a very young age. The following are suggested tasks for each age group.

2-3 year olds 

(They’ll still need lots of instruction, but they’ll likely be very eager to help!):

  • Rinsing fruits and vegetables
  • Picking fresh herb leaves off stems
  • Tearing up lettuce
  • Kneading dough
  • Brushing (or “painting”) oil with a pastry brush
  • Sprinkling herbs or seasonings
  • Holding the dustpan
  • Putting silverware into the dishwasher


4-5 year olds
  • Juicing lemons and limes with a plastic juicer
  • Cracking eggs
  • Measuring and leveling dry ingredients with a straight edge
  • Rolling dough with a rolling pin
  • Cutting soft foods with a plastic knife
  • Spreading butter and jam
  • Setting the timer
  • Setting the table
  • Spraying the countertop with an all-purpose cleaner, then wiping it clean
  • Filling the dishwasher soap compartment and pressing the “start” button


6-9 year olds
  • Using a small paring knife
  • Cooking with you at the stove
  • Using a can opener or garlic press
  • Peeling fruits and vegetables
  • Grating cheese with a box grater
  • Forming patties
  • Slicing bread
  • Using a hand mixer
  • Greasing a baking pan
  • Cooking an egg
  • Scooping batter into muffin cups
  • Flipping pancakes
  • Threading food onto skewers
  • Putting groceries away
  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher

As children reach the upper ages of this list and beyond, they have learned a few cooking basics, and are ready for more complicated tasks, such as reading and following recipes, and trying out kitchen equipment.

Remember: Every child is different, so they may be ahead of, or behind these suggestions. Maturity and dexterity vary among children, so it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for your child and when your child is ready to use knives, the oven, and the stove by themselves. It is suggested that an adult is always present in case of emergency.