Anne is the Coordinator of the MA Children at Play Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Last week we were happy to announce ChopChop, a new monthly newsletter featuring a free recipe that parents and children can make together. Having children help in the kitchen is a good way to get your child to try new foods, develop cooking skills and eating habits, and spend quality time together as a family.
As children grow, they will be able to help out with different kitchen tasks at different ages. While not every child develops at the same rate, there are certain tasks that children can typically do depending on their age.
At two years old, your child can help you do things like wipe tables, hand groceries to you to put away, place things in the trash, and rinse vegetables or fruits. They also may like getting their hands “busy” – let them tear lettuce, snap green beans, and make faces out of pieces of fruits or vegetables.
As a three year old, your child can help you add ingredients, squeeze citrus fruits (like oranges or lemons), stir batter or sauces, or knead dough (with clean hands, of course!). When they hit this age, they can do more than help with food – they can talk about it too. Play games like asking them to name different foods, or count how many pieces of green pepper you chopped.
Four year olds, in addition to the things two and three year olds can do, may be able to crack and peel eggs, peel fruits such as oranges and bananas. You can also ask them to help you measure dry ingredients (like flour, spices, black pepper, etc). Helping to make sandwiches and salads is a fun thing for kids to learn how to do.
Many five year olds can graduate to “utensils” and depending on the particular skills of your child, may be able to use a dull knife to cut soft fruits such as bananas or kiwis. They may also be able to measure liquids and use new utensils, like an egg beater.
While you’re working with your child in the kitchen, remember that this is a good time to teach them healthy and safe habits. Always remind them to:
- wash their hands with soap and water before working with food
- wash fruit and vegetables before eating, peeling or cooking
- sneeze into their upper arm when around food
For more fun, healthy tips for parents and kids visit www.mass.gov/massinmotion.
Tips adapted from Choosemyplate.gov
Working Together to Improve Adult Immunization Rates in MA posted on Apr 23
Registration for the 19th Annual Massachusetts Adult Immunization Conference is open! This event, to be held May 20, 2014 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA attracts professionals from local public health organizations, long-term-care facilities, pharmacies, college health, hospitals, physician practices, community health centers, employers, health …Continue Reading Working Together to Improve Adult Immunization Rates in MA
Weekly Flu Report, April 18, 2014 posted on Apr 18
This week’s flu report shows a late-season increase in the rate of flu-like illness in the state – an indication of the unpredictability of flu and a reminder of the importance of taking simple measures to stop the spread of illness in our homes and communities. …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, April 18, 2014
DPH Kicks Off Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking and Prescription Drug Abuse posted on Apr 15
Last week, the Department hosted the first in a series of statewide Town Hall Meetings that will examine what can be done to prevent underage drinking and prescription drug abuse in the Commonwealth. Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) Director Hilary Jacobs was joined at the …Continue Reading DPH Kicks Off Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking and Prescription Drug Abuse