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How Kids Can Help in the Kitchen: Your Toddler or Preschooler Can Help Prepare Lunch

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Kids can definitely help in the kitchen. Involving your toddler or preschooler in food preparation is really important. It gives them ownership over their own food, helps increase independence, and teaches important skills. It can be hard to figure out what some young children can do to prepare their own lunch. Remember that the tasks they do are not meant to help save you time! They are just meant to teach your child how to be an independent eater. Take a look at this list and see if any of these tasks are appropriate for your child. These can allow your child to help in the kitchen.


toddler putting food into a lunchbox


How Your Toddler or Preschooler Can Help Prepare Their Own Lunch--Kids Can Help in the Kitchen Too

  • choose some of the lunch food on their own ("What do you want on your sandwich?")

  • choose between options you present for some foods ("Would you like peanut butter or almond butter on your sandwich?")

  • place lunchmeats or cheese on sandwich bread

  • spread peanut butter on bread

  • place the 2 halves of a sandwich together after you put on the spread

  • rinse off an apple, peach, or another fruit

  • place baby carrots into a bag or container

  • choose some lunch food at the grocery store, such as fruit or sandwich bread

  • bring you their lunchbox from their backpack so you can put food in

  • separate an orange into the segments after you peel it

  • transfer cut melon or other fruit from the cutting board into a container

  • tear one string cheese off from the strip of cheeses

  • spoon yogurt or cottage cheese into a container

  • fill their own water bottle

  • determine if they will need to pack a spoon, fork, or both along with their lunch

  • place cutlery into their lunchbox

  • place used containers and cutlery into the kitchen sink after school

  • Throw away garbage that is left in their lunch (disposable cutlery, bags, food wrappers)

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