We all know how important it is to play with our kids, and we all know how important it is to eat healthy. But what are you supposed to do with the rug rats while whipping up tasty treats? Easy — have them join you in the kitchen. Your little chef will be pumped, and you’ll get to spend some QT together. And don’t worry about age. No matter if they’re toddlers, pre-schoolers or old enough to cruise social media, there are plenty of ways to involve kids in the kitchen.

1. Help Scale and Add Ingredients: Younger kids can dump ingredients into the mixing bowl, while older kids can measure out ingredients and follow along with Drop‘s no-fail instructions to make the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies. (via Gizmodo)

2. Hit the Buttons: As anyone who’s been in an elevator with children knows, they love pushing buttons. Let your kids hit the “on” switch or the “blend” button. Just make sure you’re holding the top down unless you’re ready to rock out with one epic FOOD FIGHT! (via Inspired Edibles)

3. Time to Assemble: Hand younger kids ingredients to assemble, and let older kids take on the layering and combining, with easy-to-make dishes like pizza or casseroles. (via All the Quirks)

4. Plan Meals: Cooking really begins with planning. Even young children can provide ideas about what to eat that week and help pick out ingredients at the store… although, tread lightly with this one or you might end up eating mac and cheese every night for dinner… which, let’s be real, wouldn’t the worst thing in the world. (via Sew Delicious)

5. Mix: Mixing and stirring are things every kid can do, and it’s fun to watch ingredients come together in a batter. The younger the child, the bigger the bowl you should use. It’ll help cut down on messes. (via Huffington Post)

6. Add Some Flair: Give older kids a chance to flex their independence with tasks like crimping the pie edges or dropping and shaping cookie dough. (via Raising Small Souls)

7. Read Recipes: Kids don’t want to get dirty? Have them read out the recipes as you cook! This will help them practice their reading skills as well as get them in the kitchen for some quality together time. (via Cool Mom Tech)

8. Invest in Kid-Specific Utensils: Your toddlers want to help, but if you’re (understandably) reluctant to let them use dangerous or expensive equipment, there are a ton of kitchen tools designed especially for children. (via Rambling Renovators)

9. Be Patient: Adults make mistakes in the kitchen all the time, so obviously your kids will as well. Try not to lose your cool when accidents happen. Your kids will appreciate the confidence boost and be more willing to cook with you again. (via Cooking Equipment)

10. Pick the Right Activity: Toddlers won’t want to help make a fiddly souffle, and older kids will get bored with counting out chocolate chips. Make sure to choose the right activity for your family, depending on the age and patience level of your kids. (via Tinker Lab)

11. Make Helping Fun: If you think cooking is a chore, chances are your kid will, too. Dress up in chef’s aprons and hats, put some music on and show your kids how much fun it can be to spend time in the kitchen. (via Mom Machine)

How do you like to involve children in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!