Little Sous Chefs’ Skill School #4: Tinkering with Kitchen Tools/ Appliances!👨🏽‍🍳

“No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”

Julia Child

Welcome! Thanks for taking a peek in our kitchen! If you’re just joining us, here’s what’s been cookin’ this week:


Cooking Week, Day Four: Tinkering with Kitchen Tools and Appliances!

Kids often have a strong fascination with all the “toys” in our kitchens . . . you know, the ones we never let them use. Well, today we’re rethinking that injustice and gifting our kids access to ten kitchen tools and appliances, plus allowing them time to tinker with them!

SKILL SUPPLY LIST:

*Select just a few of the tools/appliances below to get started with, and then continue either daily, weekly, or organically as you are preparing meals day by day!

  • can opener
  • sifter
  • melon baller
  • rolling pin
  • salad spinner
  • potato masher and/or pastry cutter
  • Vitamix, food processor, and/or emulsifier
  • stand mixer
  • juicer (electric and/or citrus)
  • zester
  • apple slicer
  • vegetable peeler
  • wire egg slicer
  • crinkle cutter/small cleaver

TEN TOOLS TO TINKER WITH . . .

~Salad Spinner~

Our kids actually fight over who gets to spin the salad each day. We have been reduced to enforcing the taking of turns with the salad spinner 😆 . Kids even younger than two can try turning the handle or pushing the knob, and kids over the age of four should be able to independently wash and spin greens as well as empty the spinner chamber after just a few lessons.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Set up lettuce or greens to the left of the sink. Place the salad spinner in the righthand side of the sink. Place a towel out flat on the counter to the right of the sink.
  2. Show your child how to place a few handfuls of greens into the salad spinner, remove the colander bowl, wash over the left side of the sink, then place it back into the spinner bowl and secure the lid on top.
  3. Allow your child to spin the heck out of the greens. Some of our salads are spun for up to five minutes. It gives a whole new meaning to “tossed” salad.
  4. Direct your child to remove the lid and place clean greens onto the towel to the right.
  5. Instruct your child to drain or empty the chamber bowl into the sink before repeating the process until all the greens have been washed and spun.

~Can Opener~

INSTRUCTIONS:

For kids over the age of four or five, demonstrate how to safely and effectively use a can opener:

  1. Point out the circular blades.
  2. Show how to hold the can opener properly.
  3. Demonstrate the necessary technique to first puncture through the can before cranking the handle.
  4. Explain to your child to stop cranking the handle just before the entire lid has been sliced through.
  5. Show your child how sharp the rim of the lid is and explain that he is not to touch it.

~Stand Mixer~

Kids as young as two or three can sit on the counter and help us operate a stand or hand mixer. Kids five and up should be able to operate a stand mixer independently after a few repeated lessons. And kids of all ages love to lick the beaters!

Just this morning our two-year-old was helping me unload the dishwasher and she handed me the beater inserts out of the utensil compartment saying “here, Mama! Here are the lickers!”

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Teach your child the names of all the parts of the mixer and show her how they all fit together.
  2. Point out each setting on the mixer and explain the speeds.
  3. Whip something up together! Even if it’s just water to practice!

Click here for our: Vegan Whipped Cream Recipe +Tutorial!


~Sifter~

Don’t worry about having to have a recipe to warrant using a sifter! Flour, cocoa powder, or powdered sugar can be sifted and re-sifted as many times as your child desires.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Kids two and up can practice sifting, but I suggest doing this activity outside with little kids unless you like cupboards coated in culinary dust!

  1. Give your child a bowl of flour/cocoa powder/powdered sugar, a 1/2 measuring cup or large spoon, and an empty bowl with a large sifter on top.
  2. Direct your child to scoop the chosen ingredient into the sifter and then hold the sifter up with one hand or lean it on the rim of the bowl, and tap it with his other hand or knock it gently down onto the rim of the bowl until the entire bowl has been sifted.

~Melon Baller~

We’re bringing the 1992 church potluck staple back with a melon-balled fruit salad! I realize that not many of us have one of these bad-boys hanging around the kitchen anymore, but I highly recommend acquiring one if you have young kids! Melon-balling is such a great kitchen task for little chefs in the making and fabulous for hand-eye coordination development! Better still, melon-balling is easy enough for a two-year-old to have a go at (although the results will be more semi-spherical) but it is a genuinely challenging task for an older child who is trying to make perfectly spherical melon balls.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Wash your watermelon, and slice in half.
  2. Give your child half of the watermelon on a large pan or tray, along with a melon-baller tool and a large empty bowl.
  3. Show your child how to turn her wrist into the fruit and scoop out a melon ball before dumping it into the empty bowl.
  4. Step back and let your child be a baller! More than ever, emphasize the process over the product. I can almost guarantee you that you will not end up with a bowl of perfectly balled melon. It will probably look more like a bowl of remnants than anything else. It’s ok. It’s just lunch.

~Potato Masher/Pastry Cutter~

Cut pastry for your favorite pie/tart recipe, or mash potatoes with us here.


~Electric Juicer~

I have to admit it . . . we’re one of those weird and wacky juicing families. We’re not religious about it, going around shoving emulsified celery in people’s faces and telling them that veggie juice will save them! We just feel good when we juice and we feel good about giving our kids an extra five servings of vegetables in one go. If you have no idea where to start with juicing and you want to give it a try, I highly recommend Joe Cross’ juicing documentary: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (dramatic title, straightforward content).

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Instruct your child to wash the selection of veggies and fruits (refer to our previous post for washing veggies).
  2. Teach your child the names for each part of the juicer and show him how the pieces fit together.
  3. Explain to your child that he should never stick his hand into the juicing chamber. Demonstrate what happens to a carrot when it goes through the juicer and introduce just a healthy dose of respectful fear.
  4. Allow your older child to feed the juicer, or assist a young child in this task.
  5. Go for a rainbow of colors: juice the greens first so your child can really see the green in all it vibrancy. Next, juice the apples, then the carrots, and lastly the beets. This way your juice will never come out of the spout a ghastly brown color. It will be brown as it mixes in the container until you add the beet juice, and then you will be left with a gorgeously festive, fuchsia beverage!

~Rolling Pin~

Roll out your favorite sugar cookies, or follow our pie crust recipe and tutorial here!


~Food Processor~

INSTRUCTIONS:

Kids as young as two or three can grab their step stools and help us operate the food processor, Vitamix, or an emulsifier. Kids five and up should be able to operate a food processor with continued assistance in dealing with blades after a few repeated lessons.

  1. Teach your child the names of all the parts of your processing appliance and show her how they all fit together.
  2. Point out each setting on the appliance and explain the purpose of each.
  3. Process something together! Even if it’s just water to practice!

~Tools We Already Tinkered With~

  • For using a peeler, zester, juicer, and crinkle cutter, click here
  • For using an egg slicer and a whisk, click here

Tune in tomorrow for Day Five of Cooking Week: BONAPPITREAT 🍰 ending the week with something sweet!

Thanks so much for reading!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

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