The first thing to take in to account when planning to have your little helper assist you in the kitchen is to pick easy recipes! Keep in mind safety as well; make sure the prep does not require knives or handling anything hot.
My 4 year old loves cookies, after all who doesn't? First I let him choose, with my guidance, a recipe out of the Junior League of Wichita Cookbook Pinches and Dashes. The recipe we chose was "Special Peanut Butter Cookies" on page 148.
The age of your child (or children) determines how involved you would like them to be in the cooking process. Some days my guy loves to do everything, others he only wants to mix the flour. Try and let them experiment and try new things, after all that is how they learn. I usually do not worry too much if he makes a big mess, because he loves being able to say how he did it all himself. But a tip to help contain the mess is to give them their own "station" at the kitchen table or at the counter and have them work on a cookie sheet.
Today, my munchkin helped measure and mix everything together. After greasing the cookie sheet, he even helped place the cookies and with smashing them (he might have had a little too much fun with this step). For safety purposes, I took over after that and placed them in the oven to bake.
Our finished product was amazing and he was proud to say that he helped Mommy in the kitchen!
Other fun recipes that my little guy likes to help with are: Chocolate Chip/M&M Cookies, Sandwiches, Homemade Pizza, Decorating Cookies (frosting and sprinkles), layering Lasagna, and many many more!
What are some of your favorite recipes that you enjoy cooking with your children?