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However, with its hot stove, whirring appliances and sharp knives, the kitchen can be a dangerous place for children. Share these simple guidelines and precautions with your kids to help ensure that time spent in the kitchen is safe and productive.
• Get permission to use the kitchen. Depending on the age of the budding chef and the recipe, adult supervision may be required throughout the process.
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling food. Also wash hands regularly during cooking, to prevent cross-contamination. (ie - germs from raw meats transferring to your fresh cut veggies)
• Tie back long hair to prevent it from falling into food or catching fire.
• Wear an apron to protect clothing.
• Always read the recipe with an adult before starting anything. Look for any spots during the cooking process where assistance or supervision is required, such as pouring boiling water, using a knife or using the oven.
• To keep yourself organized and efficient, gather all ingredients and equipment needed before starting to cook. You don't want to be missing critical ingredients halfway through a recipe.
• Don't run in the kitchen.
• Hold knives by their handles only, even when carrying them.
• Use dry pot holders to move or touch hot pots or pans. Wet or damp pot holders transfer heat and can burn hands.
• Point pan handles away from edge of stove to prevent them catching and tipping or spilling.
• Never leave any cooking unattended.
• Always use a timer. It is easy to get distracted and forget about those cookies in the oven until it's too late. A timer is a welcome reminder and prevents burnt cookie bottoms.
• Prevent fires: never leave tea towels on the stove top.
• Clean up messes and spills. Leaving a clean kitchen when you are done means you are more likely to be allowed back into the kitchen.
• Wash and put away all dishes, ingredients and any small appliances you may have used.
• Check that all burners and oven (or any other appliances used) are turned off before leaving the kitchen.
• Enjoy the delicious treats that you made. Be sure to share with your family and friends!
Special equipment for kids
A small store of kid-specific kitchen tools makes it easier for kids to enjoy their time in the kitchen. Here is a list of a few essential tools:
• Small, sharp knife – small because it will fit into little hands better, and sharp because it cuts foods more easily, making it less likely to cut fingers.
• Small pot holders for small hands make handling hot pots easier.
• Silicone-handled cooking utensils, such as mixing spoons, brushes and spatulas, don't transfer heat. As an added bonus, they often come in fun colours!
• Lots of dry towels – to help promote cleaning up the many likely spills.