The kitchen is an engaging place for kids as they learn by playing, touching, and tasting. Letting your kids experiment will encourage them to try new foods and teach them valuable kitchen skills. Breakfast for Learning, a national charity dedicated to child nutrition programs, offers the following tips for getting your little chefs involved.

Before you get started, teach your children the two simple rules of the kitchen:

1. Wash hands before and after touching food. Scrub with soapy water for the amount of time it takes to sing the ABCs.

2. Ask to taste. To stop the spread of food-borne illness from raw food like chicken and eggs, make sure kids ask to sample food before they taste.

A child’s hands are the ultimate kitchen tool; even young children can participate in meal preparation. For example, children can:

• Tear foods like lettuce and pull grapes from vines;

• Remove the peel off fruit;

• Mix ingredients;

• Measure dry ingredients;

• Push buttons on blenders, toasters, and microwaves (with supervision);

• Set the oven timer and tell you when it’s done.

Involving kids in the kitchen allows them to learn about food and nutrition, spend quality time with an adult, and have fun.

More information on the importance of healthy eating and new recipe ideas can be found online at