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Kids at Work

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Stressed out about cooking a Thanksgiving dinner? If your kids aren’t helping you out, it’s time to put them to work. Even the littlest ones can get into the act. Here’s a sample kids’ to-do list:

Set the table: You may not want to trust your kids with Great-Grandma’s china or crystal, but they can certainly set out silverware and napkins. Are they still looking for something to do? Have them design place cards.

Scrub-a-dub-dub: Even your littlest ones can be in charge of washing fruits and vegetables. And how much fun is scrubbing a potato? They won’t want to stop until every speck of dirt is gone.

Chop away: You may not necessarily think to assign your kids the task of chopping things, but you’d be surprised what they can do if you give them a kid-friendly knife and a lesson in safe chopping skills. Our kids’ chop-list includes bread that needs to be cubed for stuffing, apples to be cut into slices for pie (after Mom cores and peels them), cranberries to be chopped for relish, and cooked sweet potatoes to be sliced for a casserole.

Mash, mash baby: What kid would turn down an opportunity to take a potato masher and go to town on demolishing a big bowl of potatoes? Just give the potatoes a few minutes to cool after you boil them.

Grind and blend: If there’s anything on your menu that needs to be ground or blended, give your kid the task. Cranberry relish recipe? Put your kid in charge of pressing the buttons on the food processor. Need ground nuts for your stuffing or pies? Your kid can do the honors with a small nut grinder. Pressing cranberries for sauce? Try one of our family’s standbys, the kid-proof and irresistible Foley food mill.

Rock and roll: Making your own pie crust? Give a kid a rolling pin and put him on rolling duty. And if you’re concerned about pie dough perfection, let your kid roll out the pie dough scraps and cut them with cookie cutters to make leaf decorations for the top of the pie.

Chef’s Choice: Is your kid old enough to read and follow a recipe? Put him in charge of one simple dish, from start to finish. This could mean anything from a fruit-and-veggie appetizer plate, to an easy biscuit recipe, to a sophisticated sweet potato casserole. You’ll find some fun recipe ideas at Parenting, Disney Family Fun, and Nick Jr.

And last – are the kids running around like crazy after dinner? Put them on dishwashing duty.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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3 Responses to Kids at Work

  1. Tiffany C November 30, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    I adore the place card idea for any time, not just Thanksgiving. Will have to try that! :)

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