He’s three and he loves to “be the kitchen helper” but what can he usefully do?
Quite a bit actually. He saves me a lot of steps!
Fetches things- most cans have pictures so he can tell the difference between black and red beans and bring them up from the “food room” downstairs. Onions, potatoes, cooking oils of various kinds are all in low cupboards or bins where he can easily get them. We get a lot of math practice in that way too, ” bring me one potato for each person in the family” teaches one-to-one correspondence, and counting the potatoes after he fetches them is great too,
Brings me spices- most of them are in jars with colored labels. He knows his letters well enough now that I can say “I need the Oregano, it has a yellow lid and starts with an “O”” and he can generally find it. (Phonics practice, and sometimes observation as I might say “I need the Cumin, not the Coriander, they both start with C but the Cumin is ground and the Coriander is a round seed.”),
Selects pots and mixing bowls of the right size for the job and matches them to lids if needed. This way he is learning size designations both relative (small, medium, large) and specific (2 quart, 3 quart etc.),
Greases pans- This is a great sensory activity as well as teaching attention to detail. I hardly ever grease pans anymore myself!
Helps with clearing the tables and dishwasher- his particular job is the silverware as I find the sorting of utensils by type and size to be a wonderful pre-reading activity.
Bags or puts into the pot things I have cut or chopped,
Scrubs vegetables and is learning to peel them,
Tears lettuce for salad, and sometimes cuts up cucumbers etc.
Basically he can do any of the simple prep jobs in the kitchen. He knows quite a bit about what is used in various dishes, and can often anticipate what I’m going to need if he knows what I’m making.
He uses his knowledge in preparing various exotic foods in his toy kitchen (The Snack Stand) and will frequently ask “What would you like from the Snack Stand?”.