I founded ChopCop to inspire and teach families to cook and eat real food together—not just to help combat obesity, hunger, and poor nutrition, but because cooking at home is vital to every family’s health.

Starting kids in the kitchen at a young age cultivates an interest in both the food they eat and where that food comes from—essential curiosity for a lifetime of good nutrition. Plus, if kids (especially picky eaters) are involved in the cooking process, they are much more likely to eat that meal. Here are five tasks to get the whole family involved, and since they don’t involve knives or heat, they’re perfect for even the youngest kids: 

  • Count: The youngest chefs can count ingredients, such as tomatoes for salads or vegetables for a pizza topping, which is a great way to involve math in cooking.

  • Blend: Have kids push buttons on a blender for smoothies or soups. Kids love the loud whirring sounds of tools like food processors and blenders, and they also love watching food mash into liquid.

  • Measure: Have kids fill measuring cups and spoons. Show them the right way to level off dry ingredients. Don’t have the right measuring cup? Use it as an opportunity to discuss math and conversions with your kids.

  • Stir: Kids love to stir ingredients with a spoon or their clean hands. Pancake batter is easy to mix, salad is easy to toss, and soup is easy to stir. Let kids test out tools such as whisks and wooden spoons.

  • Taste:  Tasting ingredients as well as the finished dish encourages young chefs to try new foods and teaches them to season food as they cook. Kids should taste a dish before they serve it, to figure out if it needs anything to amp up the flavor, even if they’ve already added all the ingredients listed in the recipes.