Get the Kids Involved Turkey Day Dinner Tips
Get Ready, Get Set
First off begin with the right tools for cooking. While most of your everyday kitchen items will be fine for kids to use, having some kid-friendly items on hand can help. Spoons, whisks, and measuring cups in bright colors and smaller sizes will spark their interest. Provide them with an apron just their size. If you don't have a small one, make due with an oversized shirt or mom's apron but be prepared for them to get messy. And while not totally necessary, a kid's chef hat is just plain fun!
Make the work area as kid-accessible as possible. Clear counters and teach them to get out all needed supplies before they start cooking. There is nothing worse than getting halfway through a recipe to discover you don't have everything you need. If you are working with very young children, keep a step stool handy to help them reach the counter.
Teach children safety rules in the kitchen. Beforehand discuss how to handle hot dishes, how to use the oven and what they may or may not do before hand. Have some child-sized oven mitts and plenty of pot holders.
Age Appropriate Cooking
Any age child can cook; outside of infants. Even toddlers can get into the fun. Toddlers and preschoolers can stir, dump in premeasured or precut ingredients, use a cookie cutter with help, and put lettuce in a salad bowl. School-age kids can prepare whole dishes with a little supervision.
Any nine or ten-year-old can easily make a green bean casserole. This age can handle a knife with adult supervision, prepare cold dishes alone, learn to use an oven, and even make a main dish with a little help. One fun way to get reluctant cooks interested is to allow them to choose a dish to help prepare.
Small Servings for Small People
Another great way to get young kids involved is to think on their size-wise level. Buy disposable individual pie pans and casserole dishes and let them "make their own." While your three-year-old may not be able to fill a large pumpkin pie pan, she could use a small spoon and fill a little one. Let them decorate cupcakes instead of a large cake, bake mini loaves of zucchini bread instead of a large one, and give them their own dough to roll out for mini pies.
Join in the Fun
So, why not get everyone involved this Thanksgiving? Let perfection go by the wayside and enjoy spending time together in the kitchen. From setting the table to preparing the meal, the more you are involved (no matter your age) the more you will enjoy the day.