This post is a part of a 31 day series to invite our kids into the kitchen. Find the rest of the series here.
If you have little boys anything like mine, they would spend all day in their little undies emblazoned with the favorite superheroes of the moment, running around the house without a care in the world.
I am pretty lenient when it comes to asking them to actually put on clothing. If we are at the house with no where to go, I usually only ask them to get dressed at the start of our school day, and if they are going to be cooking at/near the stovetop.
This morning, I asked my eldest if he wanted to be in charge of making the scrambled eggs for breakfast. He readily agreed. The only catch? Put on some clothes!
My daughter was already at the kitchen island enjoying the last quarter of a donut. My three-year-old son soon joined us too.
Scrambled eggs are one of the easiest dishes to get your kids started helping in the kitchen. They are hard to mess up and easy to get right.
My kids have had a lot of experience making scrambled eggs over the last couple of years. Fried eggs are my preference, but scrambled is theirs. So when we have the time to let them help with breakfast, it is often on the menu.
Cracking eggs is fun for all kids. What kid wouldn’t want to smack a fragile egg against the side of bowl? Cracking the eggs is the first step in learning to split them. Even a young toddler can help with this with close supervision.
I have been working with my boys on the correct way to split an egg without the shell shattering or splashing out everywhere. My eldest son can do it no problem now. Which means, that at five years old, I can ask him to do all the eggs and leave him working at the kitchen island for a minute. Nice.
My three year old son has only recently made the switch from crushing the egg shell into tiny pieces to being able to separate the shells with his thumbs.
I tell you this to encourage you to remember that even if your child is in the shell-crushing stage, with practice and the opportunity to learn, their little hands can master the skill of gently separating the eggs without a big mess.
After the fun (messy) job of cracking the eggs, kids can help to add in any extra toppings like shredded cheese, chopped spinach, or whatever your family’s favorite add-ins are. The morning I took these photos, we had some leftover ham so I set my boys to work slicing the ham into small pieces for the scrambled eggs while my toddler “whisked” the eggs.
At this point, you can take back cooking duties and cook the scrambled eggs. My preferred method of cooking scrambled eggs is to start with a hot pan over medium-high heat, add in a small slice of butter to grease the bottom of the pan, and then pour in the eggs. Stir and cook over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, until the eggs start to leave a streak behind in the pan when stirred. Reduce the heat to medium-low and finish cooking for another minute.
If you feel your child is old enough and ready (see notes below), cooking scrambled eggs is also a great way to introduce stove-top cooking. There are not many occasions my five-year-old is allowed to use the stove right now, but cooking eggs is one of them. I stand nearby and supervise, but he knows what to do and has shown himself to be quite capable.
A brief word about kids and stove-top safety:
First of all, you are the best person to judge if your child is ready to use the stove.
Teaching safety rules like not touching the heating elements or the pots and pans while in use is an obvious place to start. Then, assessing his level of maturity and self-control are important– will he listen and be calm while using the stove? Another significant consideration is basic height and arm length– is he tall enough to safely reach and stir?
If you think he’s ready, give him a chance while closely supervising. Often our kids will surprise us with the things they are capable of doing if we will just take the time to teach them and then give them opportunities to learn.
Safety tips to teach a child learning to use the stove:
(this is not an exhaustive list, of course, but a good place to start)
1. Do not lean over a pot/pan while cooking. The steam or contents could burn you.
2. Keep one hand on the handle of the pot/pan and one handle on the spoon/spatula. This helps to keep the pot steady while stirring and keeps a child from accidentally setting his hand down on something hot.
3. Stir gently. Stirring too hard could cause the contents of the pot to splash out.
4. Pay attention. Generally be aware of what you are doing. If you get distracted, move away from the stove.
The weekend is almost here. Why not invite your kids into the kitchen this weekend to help make breakfast for the family? Try one new thing and see how it goes. And if you do, please come back and tell me about it!
What is your kids’ favorite breakfast to help prepare?