Kids as young as two can play a role in meal prep and, by the time they’re teenagers, they might even take the lead in putting meals together. Here are a few of our favorite ways to get kids cooking at every age:

2-to-3-year-olds

Even the youngest of kids can help in the kitchen. Toddlers are always looking for grown-up things to do, and letting them participate in food prep makes them more likely to try new foods with the added bonus of fine-tuning their still-developing motor skills. Try:

  • tearing greens

  • washing produce

  • topping pizza pies

  • kneading and shaping dough

  • stirring batter

  • mashing potatoes

  • squeezing citrus

4-to-5-year-olds

Rising kindergartners are ready to pick up some more advanced skills and can even put some of what they’re learning in school to use in the kitchen. Try:

  • cracking eggs

  • measuring dry ingredients

  • practicing simple addition and subtraction

  • learning names of new fruits and vegetables

  • tossing salads

  • cutting soft fruits with a dull knife

6-to-7-year-olds

With fine motor skills comes more responsibility. Introduce your kids to trickier techniques, and with supervision (and age-appropriate cutlery) your child might even be ready to start practicing those knife skills. Who doesn’t love to chop? Try:

  • peeling hard-boiled eggs

  • dicing vegetables

  • layering lasagnas

  • slicing and scooping out avocados

  • snipping herbs

8-to-9-year-olds

After mastering the basics, 8-to-9 year olds are ready to be a little more independent in the kitchen and take on more advanced tasks. Try:

  • opening cans

  • pounding chicken

  • flipping pancakes

  • peeling vegetables

  • whisking eggs

  • making salads and salad dressing

10-to-12-year-olds

After 8 years of experience, these kids are practically pros. Coach them on food safety and walk them through the next level of cooking techniques. Next thing you know, come dinnertime, they’ll be leading the way and you’ll be their new sous-chef.