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Putting Your Preschooler to Work

Little_Girl_CookingNothing makes preschoolers happier than helping their parents.  Studies show that young children are wired to get pleasure from pleasing their mom or dad.  So, instead of ignoring your four-year-old when he offers to help you make the beds, fold laundry or put away groceries, allow him to exercise his independence by lending a hand.

In some cases, a preschooler’s attempt at helping is more of a hindrance to parents; however, with a little patience you can turn these heartfelt efforts into teachable moments.

When my now 8-year-old daughter was a preschooler nothing delighted her more than being able to assist me in the kitchen.  While this often meant taking extra time to set-up a separate area with kid-safe utensils and monitoring her moves while completing the rest of the meal, in the end, cooking with my preschooler turned out to be a memorable event.

The next time your preschooler wants to help out in the kitchen, put him in charge of the following simple recipes:

Fresh Fruit Salsa


  • 2 cups of strawberries, diced
  • 2 cups of kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1 green apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam


  1. Heat the preserves in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until they melt.
  2. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. In the meantime, place all of the fresh fruit in a large bowl, and then pour in the cooled strawberry jam.
  4. Gently mix the fruit and the jam, being sure not to smash the raspberries.
  5. Refrigerate the salsa for at least two hours before serving.
  6. You can serve the salsa as a topping on ice cream or have kids dip cinnamon sugar tortilla chips into it for a healthy snack.

Monster Cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of pecans
  • 2 cups of cups M&Ms
  • 2 cups of potato chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease cookie sheets.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Combine the cocoa, flour, and baking soda, and gradually stir into the creamed mixture.
  6. Fold in the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Place heaping spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool for five minutes before removing from sheets.
This entry was posted in Preschool Activities and tagged , , by Michele Cheplic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.