Preschool (2 - 5  yrs)

Preschoolers can begin to learn basic concepts that they will need in the kitchen. Keep in mind that their attention spans are short, so small tastks are usually best, particularly those that don’t call for actual prep work.

  • Stirring batter in a bowl
  • Rinsing and straining fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Pouring liquid ingredients
  • Spreading peanut butter and jelly on bread
  • Mashing potatoes and other cooked vegetables
  • Rolling bread or pie dough
  • Using cookie and biscuit cutters
  • Whisking pancake batter
  • Cutting soft fruits and vegetables with dull butter knife/plastic knife
  • Measuring liquid and dry ingredients




3 - 5 YEARS

  • Continues with all previous abilities
  • Can eat in unfamiliar surrounds with unfamiliar people
  • Can remain calm when offered new food or disliked food
  • Can refuse politely
  • Can wait to eat and tolerate hunger
  • Is influenced by peers in food preference
  • Grows as expected

Preteens (9 - 12 yrs)

Preteens should  be able to read labels, follow recipes and prepare many parts of simple dishes themselves. They should feel comfortable with basic knife skills, turning on appliances and in some cases be ready to cook on their own.

  • Trimming and slicing vegetables
  • Putting foods in the oven and removing them
  • Working with timers and thermometers
  • Baking quick breads and muffins
  • Kneading dough and letting it rise
  • Cooking Soup
  • Using specialty appliances such as a panini press and waffle maker
  • Steaming rice
  • Roasting vegetables
  • Cooking pancakes on a griddle
  • Using a food processor, blender and stand mixer
  • Frying hamburgers
  • Using a chef’s knife and other larger knives




12 - 18 MONTHS

  • Can tolerate hunger for short periods, delayed gratification
  • Can join into family meals
  • Can eat soft solid foods
  • Develops eye hand coordination for finger and utensil feeding
  • Can drink from a cup
  • Grows as expected

Teenagers (13 - 16 yrs)

Teenagers shouldn’t need close supervision and can choose what they would like to cook. They can prepare meals for the family.

  • Using all kitchen appliances, including safely handling and cleaning the sharp blades of food processors and blends
  • Developing knife skills to efficiently chop, dice and mince
  • Baking more complicated yeast doughs and pastries
  • Making risotto
  • Marinating foods
  • Pan frying and grilling steaks, chicken breasts and other meats
  • Using slicers and mandolins
  • Using and cleaning outdoor gas and charcoal grills
  • Deep–frying French fries and chicken


12 - 18 MONTHS  

3 - 5 years

nutrition milestones

birth - 3 months

  • Ability to root, suck and swallow
  • Can eat until full and signal when hungry
  • Temperament - alert and calm during feedings
  • Hand to mouth activity
  • Grows as expected
  • Feeding stage: suckling
  • Nutrition – breast milk or formula



  • Continues with all previous abilities
  • Participates in family meals
  • Tastes new foods regularly and adds them to repertoire
  • Can refuse food without becoming upset
  • Can accept limits in feeding
  • Can feed self with utensils with little spilling
  • Grows as expected



Young Cook (6 - 8 yrs)

As kids learn to read, the perfect activity is to read cookbooks and follow recipes with your child. You need to decide when your child is ready to begin using adult knives, the stove and oven. Remember to keep close and constant supervision at all times.

  • Whisking eggs
  • Frosting cupcakes and icing cookies
  • Mixing cookie dough and brownie batter
  • Using a can opener, juicer and garlic press
  • Grating cheese with a box or hand grater
  • Peeling fruits and vegetables
  • Mixing and rolling pie and tart dough
  • Making fresh pasta dough and using a hand-cranked pasta machine
  • Melting chocolate in a microwave
  • Whipping cream with a  hand mixer
  • Making ice cream with a countertop ice cream maker
  • Using paring or other small knives
  • Boiling eggs and pasta
  • Frying eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches



3 - 6 MONTHS

  • Can recognize bottle
  • Opens mouth for nipple or spoon
  • Holds bottle independently near 6 months
  • Communicates hunger and fullness to feeder
  • May be ready for solid foods by 6 months
  • Grows as expected
  • Feeding stage: sucking to early munching
  • Nutrition – Breast milk or formula, infant cereals and thin purees


6 - 12 MONTHS




6 - 12 months

  • Develops mouth and hand skills for eating finger feeding
  • Shows interest in food and the feeder
  • Will experiment with new tastes
  • Will experiment with new textures
  • Shows clear signs of hunger and satiety
  • Masters removing purees from spoon
  • Uses raking motion to pick up foods
  • Grows as expected

3 - 6


Nourishing lives of those you love most