kitchen tasks for 3 year olds

Kitchen Tasks for a 3 Year Old

kitchen tasks for 3 year olds

Toddlers love to be in the kitchen helping.

The kitchen is a gathering place for our family, and even though it can take more time to include my toddler, I know that soon this investment will pay off in extra little helpful hands!

It’s so rewarding when everyone is involved in the kitchen.

Since I’ve been asked more than a few times what kitchen tasks are good for toddlers, I thought it would be fun to share some of my three year olds favorite ways to help in the kitchen.

15 Kitchen Tasks for a 3 Year Old

washing potatoes

Wash produce

Washing produce is by far one of the easiest tasks for three year olds.

My son loves to play in the water. It’s win-win.

I need clean produce and he gets to “play in the sink.”

kitchen tasks for 3 year olds_edited-1

Put away silverware

putting away silverware

Putting away silverware is great for learning to sort, and it’s one less thing I have to do.

Put away groceries

When we come home, I place the grocery bags beside the pantry and allow him to load the bottom shelves while I load the top shelves.

This means he usually unloads all the canned good since that’s what I keep on the bottom shelf.

In addition, he loads all the groceries into their proper spots in the refrigerator! This is a huge help!

Measure ingredients

measuring flour

My toddler loves this kitchen task!

Measuring flour, sugar, salt, etc. is great for fine motor as well as counting.

There are so many teachable moments when measuring ingredients!

Push buttons

If it has a button, then your toddler wants to push it.

My three year old pushes buttons on the blender, food processor, mixer, juicer, toaster, etc.

tot school-3-5

Combine ingredients

Using a spoon to combine ingredients together is an easy kitchen task for a 3 year old.

Pour liquids

I usually allow my toddler to pour liquids into pots, bowls, and blenders.

I choose an easy to hold measuring cup and let him learn to pour gently.

kitchen task for toddler

Beat eggs

We eat a lot of scrambled eggs in our house!

Not only can my toddler crack the eggs without losing the shell, he scrambles them to perfection.

He can even add a little salt and pepper and scoop the coconut oil into the pan.

To be honest, he could probably handle the entire process of scrambling eggs for breakfast. However, he’s not quite ready to be trusted entirely with hot burners.

We’ve been practicing this simple kitchen task since he was 18 months old. It is by far his favorite task, and it’s already been a huge help for us in the kitchen!

kneading dough

Knead dough

Kneading dough is great for building little muscles in those tiny hands.

We take turn kneading dough for homemade bread. Then he can transfer the ball of dough to a greased bowl (which is something else he is learning to do for me, grease the bowl).

Set the table

Setting the table is a very helpful kitchen task.

When dinner is almost ready, I call my toddler to set the table. He counts the plates, forks, cups, and napkins.

When he was too small to reach the items for the table, I would pull them out for him.

kitchen tasks for 3 year olds - wipe the table_edited-1

Clear table

After dinner, my toddler is responsible for clearing his plate and cup.

He also takes everyone’s napkins to the dirty clothes bin.

Wiping the table is a new skill we are working on, but he’s doing a great job! He’s probably more thorough about it than I am. 😉

Rinse dishes

After dishes are washed, rinsing is an easy task for my toddler.

This takes some concentration and fine motor skills, so right now he only rinses the utensils and items that aren’t easily broken.

We’ll slowly begin to trust him with more and more as time goes on.

Stack plates

Once dishes are dry, he is responsible for stacking the plates back into the cupboard.

kids in the kitchen waiting patiently

Observe

If there is a task he cannot participate in, like chopping vegetables, then we sing the “I am Observing” song together.

He loves to just watch what I’m doing. He’s learning so much about the necessary kitchen skills just by observing.

Plus watching cookies in the oven is just heavenly!

Prepare snacks

Toddlers are little piglets, or at least mine is!

We use snack boxes, which is a trick I learned from my friend Amy at Simple Everyday Home. This has seriously been a life saver.

Each morning after breakfast, my toddler and I fill a few small containers with snacks. He pours the raisins and nuts, picks off the grapes (washes them), and fills his little cups up for the day. He can grab snacks as he needs them!

proud kitchen helper

Being in the kitchen is so much fun for toddlers. With some consistent training, toddlers can actually be quite helpful!

Sure it will go a little slower than if you did it by yourself, but if you think long term, these little chubby hands won’t be little for long. They will get faster and faster and more accurate as they grow. Training now could mean lots of help later!

What about you? What are some kitchen tasks for toddlers you would add to the list? Be sure to share in the comments!

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15 Comments

  1. I love this! My boys are in the kitchen with me all the time too. I really enjoy cooking and they are developing a love for it with me. They do most of the tasks you listed. My 4yo is great at scrambled eggs and can actually make them on the stove. I stay near him and control the knob, but he is able to stand at the stove (on a small stool) and hold the pan with one hand and a spatula with the other. He always feels so proud of his work. I will also add that they are learning to use (age-appropriate) knives to help prep things. My older son (the 4yo) is getting really good with a paring knife and my 2yo has a special kids’ knife that he can use to chop certain produce.
    I am so thankful that we are able to spend so much time doing these things together and always try to encourage other moms to try it (even just baby steps!).