A good question today in Slate.com, how old do kids need to be before they help with the cooking, and more importantly, with the sharp knives? We had some friends who home-schooled while our kids were growing up, and their older two kids were making full meals for the family by the time they were 10. My kids can now make full meals, at 28 and 26, but I don't think they could when they were 10.
The grandkids, however, really want to learn how to do things around our house, and both older girls helped make a pizza last week, adding flour to the mixer for the pizza dough (with many reminders about keeping fingers away from the moving bread hook), and of course, adding the ingredients to the pizza itself.
The oldest has been working on a puzzle with Papa, and they had glued it together a few weeks ago, getting it ready to hang on the wall. She decided that it was time to add the yardstick to the back so that she could get it hung up in her room at her Mom's. She and Papa went outside, found a yardstick, and set to work cutting the end off to make it fit on the back of the puzzle. I was only slightly surprised to see that Papa had let her use a hand saw, with a lot of supervision, to do the cutting. He was holding the yardstick on one end, had positioned her hands appropriately for holding the wood and the saw, and was making sure she cut very carefully. She was one proud kid when it was done, and I'm sure the puzzle will look great on her wall. I would like to point out that she is a very careful 6-year-old, nearly 7, and there's absolutely no way I would let the 4-year-old even close to a hand saw.
It is nice for kids to learn to do things they didn't think they could do, and the feeling of pride they get when they've accomplished something new is really wonderful. What do you think? How soon did you let your kids/grandkids use kitchen knives or other scary items?