Easy tricks that will help your child don the chefs hat and turn into a Mastechef later on.
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No app can replace a life skill. Agree? So let your kids play with ingredients, experiment, with flavours, and shop and chop with you. But make sure your little guys know the basic rules that will keep them safe.

Task: Washing and cleaning vegetables
Age: 3 years and above

This is all about getting to know your fruits and veggies, meeting friendly worms who reside in them and might sometimes pop out to say hello (remember, a worm indicates that the fruit has a lower pesticide load!), while also helping them imbibe general rules of hygiene. Place a tub of water alongside the produce and let them have fun! Make up a jingle if you like: Wash your hands, now scrub the fruit; wipe them clean to remove the dirt. It’s all done, so take a big bite!

Task: Kneading
Age: 5 years and above

Remember how as kids we pleaded for a ball of dough to make our own little weirdly-shaped roti? Playing with dough is one of the most enjoyable exercises, and the soft squishy dough is a sensory delight. When your child is ready, hand him semi-kneaded dough, to squish and squash and knead while he play—let him make shapes if he likes, you just have to make sure you don’t rush him to finish the job. He’ll enjoy the responsibility and also improve his fine motor skills while he’s at it!

Task: Chopping
Age group: 7 years and above

If you think your child is responsible enough to follow instructions, you could task them with chopping big veggies. First teach them how to hold safely, away from the sharp edge of the blade. Use a chopping board and begin with a soft fruit like bananas, chiku, or kiwi. Don’t insist on precision, what is important is safe handling and close monitoring.

Task: Using a Microwave
Age group: 9 years and above

Microwave ovens have made life easier, but your child may not have a sense of the timing and temperature, so watch closely while she’s pulling out stuff—especially liquids, and items where the core may be hot, even if the surface is cooler. Give them a short tutorial on the dos and donts—including safety while they switch on or switch off the electric socket into which the oven is plugged. When you think they’re ready, teach them a few easy-peasy microwave recipes—noodles in a bowl, cake in a cup or making themselves a mug of hot chocolate.

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(With inputs from chef Pankaj Bhadouria)

Image courtesy: Shutterstock

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