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While you’re at home, you may be running out of ways to keep the kids entertained. Top Chef star Gail Simmons thinks one of the best ways to stay productive and involve the kids is by letting them help out in the kitchen.

In an interview with the New York Post, Gail outlined the few things you should keep in mind while letting the little ones play a hand in the kitchen. She told the paper that she always tries to include the kids while she cooks, but given the current circumstances they’ve been cooking at home much more.

One of the biggest plusses, though, is that kids cooking can actually serve as an educational tool. “Seeing the preparation and the process of how food comes together through cooking is great family bonding time,” Gail told the paper. “And it teaches kids skills like math, science, chemistry, biology and reading.”

The first thing you can do is let your kids watch you while you cook: “They’ll want to emulate it,” she said, and there’s no better way than leading by example. Once you think they’re ready for the next step, Gail suggests treating kitchen tools like toys—the safe ones, of course. Things like wooden spoons, whisks, small spatulas, and Tupperware are all safe to play with and can familiarize the kids with what each item can be used for.

When they’ve seen you cook and have gotten comfortable with some of your kitchen items, Gail says you can put them to work and make them responsible for small tasks like washing fruits and veggies or pressing a button on the oven. This lets them feel like they’re helping out without the risk of injury that comes with chopping or being close to the stove.

As for what recipes Gail considers to be the most kid-friendly, things like salads can be fun to personalize and all of the toppings can be pre-prepared on the side prior to the kids making their plates. Other faves include baking treats like banana bread of cakes that can be improvised if, say, your child wants to add berries or creative toppings.

Overall, cooking with kids can be fun and also teach them a thing or two along the way. You just have to be okay with things getting a little messy. “Throw an apron or smock on them,” she told the Post. “Making a mess and making mistakes is how you learn to cook.”

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