This is part 3 of the series, Kitchen Tasks and Chores for Children. The first article was for children ages 3 to 5, the second article was about children ages 6 to 8 and this one, I will be again, focusing in on our 9 to 11 year old daughters. I am blessed to be now reaping the benefits of having a 11 year old daughter who has been raised in the kitchen and is now blessing me daily with her wonderful kitchen contributions of making fresh bread, breakfast, cookies and a host of other meals.
Here are some thoughts on encouraging your 9 to 11 year old daughters in kitchen tasks and chores. By now, she is really a viable asset to the kitchen workplace. Each year that goes by, she is leaping ahead in her skills and knowledge. She’s able to cook a variety of items and is venturing into her own creativity. Not only have the early responsibilities matured her, but she is building on those early skills and transferring her knowledge of past kitchen failures into productive learning experiences that have launched her abilities farther than most grown women today.
Here is a taste of what you may be able to expect. Remember these ages are not saying that she must know how to do this and that at this age, it is just a guideline. Everyone is different. I still mess up the coffee. My 11 year old makes better coffee than I do!
- She finds much enjoyment as she expresses her creativity in how she decorates the table, folds napkins, arranges flower vases and centerpieces. We found the library a helpful resource for finding table decorating books, napkin folding books, flower arrangement books and kitchen cookbooks.
- She may cook a breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, pancakes and sliced fruit. She may add tea cups and a teapot of herbal tea to the breakfast table.
- She also can make a variety of other breakfast type foods: cooks sausage patties, makes waffles, toasts bagels, cooks oatmeal, cooks grits, cheese omelets, french toast, fruit salads, smoothies.
- She can make coffee and sweet tea! She’ll probably like to make lemonade too and a variety of other drinks.
- Can cook lunch and some supper dishes: pasta, a variety of grilled sandwiches, make salads and dressings, bake potatoes, mashed potatoes, prepares frozen and canned veggies by heating them properly.
- Other cooking skills like boiling a whole chicken and frying hamburger.
- She follows more complicated recipes and is learning all sorts of tips and tricks to becoming a good cook.
- She can thoroughly clean the kitchen.
- Knows how to operate the appliances in the kitchen safely.
- She’s learning how to write a meal plan and plan a grocery shopping trip around items needed. I started letting my 10 year old daughter write all the breakfast meal plans.
- Is learning and mastering price comparisons, learning couponing and how to buy certain foods. You have to take your daughter with you to the grocery store and use it as an opportunity to teach and train her. Point out prices, point out size, point out ingredients. They will pick up these little lessons very quickly.
- Learning the art of bread-making mastering several skills in making dough, pie crusts, quick breads like muffins and loafs using items such as bananas, berries, dates, nuts etc in quick breads. If you have a bread maker, teach her how to use it.
- Well versed in creating appetizers for church functions, parties, hospitality: makes deviled eggs, chip dips and salsas, dressings and veggies, crackers and sliced cheese trays.
- Well versed in making desserts. She’s following recipes to make brownies, cookies, bars.
- She is in the kitchen more often by herself as well as still standing by your side being taught how to take her cooking basic skills and advancing those into actually creatively cooking casseroles, soups, meat dishes, gravies and more complicated meals as she grows in the coming years.
- She can be a great help to you when you are canning. Teach her how to can using a water bath and a pressure canner. I gave my 10 year old a copy of the Ball Blue Book of Preserving and she loves it! It’s a wonderfully done book that we used all summer and fall for canning applesauce, green beans and a host of other garden veggies. We’ll be using it more this year too.
- She can create and keep a folder or notebook with all her favorite and most used recipes.
For those who live on a farm, like us, there are a lot of other things she can do. If she has access to raw milk: she can take over the milk responsibilities in the kitchen. She can filter the milk, ready the milk for cold storage and thoroughly clean the milking pans and filters for the next milking. She can be put to the task of making butter for her family and learns how to use the other by products of raw milk — buttermilk, cream and even the sour milk. She can be responsible for collecting and cleaning eggs from her chickens and growing items in the garden. She may not be strong enough yet to milk a cow, but she is old enough to care for and milk dairy goats.
Think creatively and think out side the box. Don’t assume that a 9 to 11 year old daughter just needs to play all day. You will find that when you challenge and encourage her, she will thrive and blossom. As with the youger ages, loving patience will go a long way. We’ve had many wonderful burnt cookies, flat bread and bland noodles! Relax, don’t expect perfection. Cherish the effort and lovingly guide. You will be glad you did!