It's never too early for your kids to get their hands dirty in the kitchen. Not only will it teach your little ones independence, but it's also a great opportunity to spend some quality time as a family. Here are a couple of ways to include your kiddos in the cooking process:

Plan the meal together

Sometimes the fun starts outside the kitchen. An easy way to get your picky eaters excited about supper is to involve them in the planning. Give them three options to choose from, and head to the grocery store to pick up all of the ingredients. Just don't get sidetracked in the candy aisle!

"Help your kids learn by explaining the differences between cooking measurements."

Let them do the measurements

If your little ones are struggling with fractions in school, you could help them study and mix ingredients - at the same time. Explain the meaning of the terms cup, teaspoon, tablespoon, etc. and the importance of calculating the right amount of all the ingredients. Be sure to keep an eye on what they pour so the recipe doesn't get altered.

Teach safety

Between knives and stove tops, the kitchen can be a dangerous place for people of all ages. While preparing dinner, point out all of the appliances and tools that can be harmful. Keep younger kids away from the stove. If your children are a little older, you can show them the proper ways to handle certain appliances or utensils with your supervision.

Play cleanup

Your kids played an integral role in the making of the mess, so include them in the cleaning process, as well. Cleaning is an important lesson to learn no matter what age your kids are. Have them clear the table, wash dishes and even put things away if they can reach. Do this every night after dinner, and eventually it will become a routine for the entire family.