Child labor fruit salad

I started cooking this evening’s dinner while the kids were still at the park with the nanny.  When they walked in, I was still in the kitchen.  All three ran in yelling “can we help? can we help?” I absolutely love it when the kids want to participate in dinner preparation.  On a related note, it kills me when the kids want to participate but the only remaining tasks involve hot oil, sizzling bacon, a 600 degree grill, or something similarly unsuitable for kids.  So even though I was effectively finished with the preparation, I told the kids they could make some fruit salad.  We frequently buy whatever fruit is in season (which is generally a lot here in California)  and serve it at the end of dinner.  Tonight’s twist: I told the kids they were going to do 100% of the work.  I wasn’t going to get anything from the fridge, get a knife out of the knife block, get a cutting board out of the cabinet, nothing.

Once the kids got all of the ingredients, I directed them (without touching) to the appropriate knives.  I gave them only some basic instructions.  (When my 8-year-old got a little confused by the anatomy of a strawberry, I drew a diagram rather than showing her on an actual strawberry so I could stay true to my kids-do-all-the-work policy).  


The results were outstanding.  As we all enjoyed the final product, I told the kids that we’d do this again soon and that the time after next that we make this, I won’t offer any more instructions than “please make some fruit salad.”  We’ll see how that works out.

1 Response to “Child labor fruit salad”


  1. 1 talesofatravelista March 23, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    That’s a great idea of doing everything hands off. I’ll have to try that with my little one! Although, I keep having to convince her that cutting off all her fingers because she’s hell bent on wielding sharp knives isn’t a good career move on her part. I have to direct her towards the much more fun butter knives.


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