The preparations for Birthdays, Holidays and other occasions can be a lot of fun when it comes to baking. In addition, baking can be the ideal one-on-one activity. Preparing cookies and desserts with your children will make those occasions (or just plain rainy days) even more special for everyone.

Supervision is essential when cooking with kids. Children develop cooking skills at different rates, so it’s important to have an adult introduce children to cooking skills that match their ability level. Below is a guide* to use as reference to your child's development:

Children Ages 3-6 years:
• Stir ingredients in a bowl (they like to mix stuff up).
• Scrub and wash fruits or vegetables (otherwise known as playing in the sink).
• Add ingredients to a bowl (teaches organization).
Children Ages 6-8 years:
• Fill and level measuring cups and spoons (they can be more accurate than you).
• Set the table (teaches organization).
• Beat ingredients with a wire whisk (advanced tool and food blending).
• Use a dull knife to cut soft foods (teaches methods of preparation).
Children Ages 8-10 years:
• Use a can opener (learn about kitchen tools).
• Use a microwave oven (with supervision only).
• Prepare simple recipes with few ingredients (teaches independence).
Children Ages 10-12 years:
• Use an oven (only with your supervision).
• Use a knife with supervision (teaches safety).
• Use a grater to shred ingredients (advance kitchen tools and coordination).
Children Ages 12-16 years:
• Prepare recipes with multiple ingredients (mastering difficulties build trust and self esteem).
• Prepare recipes independently with little or no supervision (encourages independence and responsibility).

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* From "www.recipe-a-day.com"