Using a salad spinner. When I was little, my mom’s salad spinner ranked high among my favorite toys. Revving it up, watching it spin, making it stop suddenly…and getting to do it all again? Joy, pure and simple. My youngest daughter feels the same way now. Fun fact about this salad spinner: The pump-activated design was inspired by a retro kids’ toy.
Tearing up lettuce for salads. Give your children a salad bowl and let them tear up greens into bite-sized pieces. Watch their delight when they realize ripping up things is the goal.
Washing produce. Move a secure footstool or chair in front of the sink, so your toddler can help wash and scrub dirt from fruits and vegetables: cucumbers, mangoes, potatoes, squash, anything that won’t bruise too easily if dropped. Fill the sink slightly with cool water instead of leaving the tap running, to prevent too-hot temperature dangers or faucets blasting at full strength.
Helping set the table. Give kids specific tasks, like folding or putting out napkins, laying down place mats or setting out non-sharp utensils like butter knives and spoons. This activity also lets preschoolers practice sorting like objects together.
Clearing the table and doing the dishes. Allowing children to run back to their video games after dinner might seem like the easy way to end a meal but can do irreparable harm. Not only are video games proven to be destructive in excess, but the work of dinner is also not over when the last bite has been devoured. Including them in the cleanup of dinner and dishes allows them to see the task of the dinner event through to the end. Older children can help with the dishes and loading them in the washer while the younger pull dishes from the table.