I put together a sort of list a little while ago breaking down possible kitchen tasks for young daughters according to age. Training our daughters in the arts of homemaking from a young age will yield great blessings in her life as well as, at the same time, adding much blessing to the home.
In the younger years (ages 3 to 5) – When you are cooking and baking, allow your younger children to sit and watch you. Let them pour and stir. Verbally talking through the process of what is happening is very important as the child looks on in amazement at the mixing of the wet and dry ingredients swirling in the bowl. Talking over their heads about cups, teaspoons, half and whole, liquid and dry, sweet and sour is not too advanced for their little minds. At the ages of 3 to 5 years old, young girls can begin to contribute to the cooking and baking processes through completing tasks such as:
- Mashing bananas for banana bread, mixing ingredients while you prepare the next step, greasing pans for baking and cooking, shelling peas and shucking corn, picking food out of the garden
- Putting child bowls and sippy cups away, learning how to wash dishes by hand, drying dishes and know where things go, retrieving things from the pantry, refrigerator and freezer
- Opens packages for you — tea bags, pasta bags as well as learns how to use clips, twisty ties and zip lock bags.
- Learns how to put soap in the dishwasher and how to shut it and turn it on when loaded.
- Learns how to put away groceries with your help or with a sibling.
The 6 and 7 year old years are really a transition and rapid growth year for us. All of the sudden this young girl is doing more and more. Some ideas might be:
- Learns how to make tea.
- Learns how to make a fruit salad for breakfast.
- Makes juice from frozen concentrate.
- Learns how to make a batch of cookies and in general learns how to read a simple recipe and follow its directions.
- Can wash a sink full of dishes and knows where everything goes even if she still needs help putting some things away. Operates the dishwasher properly.
- Can wipe down cabinets and appliances when needed. As well as can sweep and mop. Teaching thoroughness and perseverance and what a complete job looks like is very important at this stage when they are learning how to do a lot of things. Completion of tasks should be an important focus.
- Peel potatoes and carrots as well as cut and slice other fruits and vegetables.
- Makes sandwiches.
- Makes peanut butter crackers, celery/cream cheese snacks.
- If you use mixes, she can put together mixes and bake them.
- She knows how to set the timer on the stove and/or microwave.
- She learns how to set a table.
- Starts to use the stove more and more: Can flip pancakes, make grilled cheese sandwiches, make waffles.
- Responsible for growing a pot of herbs for use in the kitchen and learning how to use them as well as gardening skills and responsibilities.
- Continues to stand by her mother’s side and learn cooking tips, do’s and don’ts.
A young girl of 8 to 10 years old is able to really cook some food and be a viable asset to the kitchen workplace. Not only have the early responsibilities matured her, but she is building on those early skills and transferring her knowledge of past kitchen failures into productive learning experiences that have launched her abilities farther than most grown women today. Here is a taste of what you may be able to expect:
- Has the knowledge and skills to cook a breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, pancakes and sliced fruit. She may add tea cups and a teapot of herbal tea to the breakfast table often and finds much enjoyment as she expresses her creativity in how she decorates the table, folds napkins, arranges flower vases and centerpieces.
- She also can make a variety of other breakfast type foods: cooks sausage patties, makes waffles, toasts bagels, cooks oatmeal (not instant either), cooks grits, cheese omelets, french toast, fruit salads, smoothies, coffee.
- Can cook lunch and some supper dishes: pasta, a variety of grilled sandwiches, make salads and dressings, bake potatoes, mashed potatoes, prepares frozen and canned veggies by heating them properly.
- Other cooking skills like boiling a whole chicken and frying hamburger.
- She follows more complicated recipes and is learning all sorts of tips and tricks to becoming a good cook.
- Can thoroughly clean the kitchen.
- Knows how to operate the appliances in the kitchen safely.
- Knows how to write a meal plan and plan a grocery shopping trip around items needed. Is learning and mastering price comparisons, learning couponing and how to buy certain foods.
- Learning the art of bread-making mastering several skills in making dough, pie crusts, quick breads like muffins and loafs using items such as bananas, berries, dates, nuts etc in quick breads. Sour dough bread instruction is a great way to start a girl this age into learning bread skills and regularly making bread for her family.
- Well versed in creating appetizers for church functions, parties, hospitality: makes deviled eggs, chip dips and salsas, dressings and veggies, crackers and sliced cheese trays.
- Well versed in making desserts: follows recipes to make brownies, cookies, bars.
- She is in the kitchen more often by herself as well as still standing by your side being taught how to take her cooking basic skills and advancing those into actually creatively cooking casseroles, soups, meat dishes, gravies and more complicated meals as she grows in the coming years.
- For those who live on a farm, a girl’s responsibilities are even more. If she has access to raw milk: she can take over the milk responsibilities in the kitchen. She can filter the milk, ready the milk for cold storage and thoroughly clean the milking pans and filters for the next milking. She can be put to the task of making butter for her family and learns how to use the other byproducts of raw milk — buttermilk, cream and even the sour milk. She can be responsible for collecting and cleaning eggs from her chickens and growing items in the garden. She may not be able to milk a cow, but she is old enough to care for and milk dairy goats.