It’s tempting to send my kids off to play while I’m fixing dinner. However, I often encourage them to stay and help me – even though it make take twice as long by doing so!
Cooking is fun and educational for children.
Here are just some of the things that children can learn when working with their parents in the kitchen:
1. Organization and preparation – We discuss what we want to make and pick out a recipe. I tell my children the ingredients that we need and they help me get them out of the pantry or the refrigerator. We work together to make a list of what we still need and go to the grocery store.
2. Shopping – At the store, I ask my children to help me find the ingredients on the shelves. This not only helps them learn how to shop but it also keeps them from running aimlessly up and down the aisles while I do the shopping. We look at the prices in the sales flyer and compare product prices at the shelves. We use the scales in the produce section to weigh vegetables.
3. Colors – Talk with younger children about the colors of the foods they are working with. Point out how colors change with blended with other colors or when cooked.
4. Math skills - We discuss units of measurement such as a cup vs a half cup as well as tablespoons, teaspoons, etc. They count as they put multiple spoonfuls of an ingredient into a bowl.
5. Terminology – We discuss what terms mean such as saute, kneading, mince vs chop, bake, etc.
6. Science – We discuss the importance of yeast and how it makes dough rise. We discuss germs, how they can make us sick, and the importance of washing our fruits and vegetables as well as our hands.
7. Motor skills – Children can learn how to slice soft foods with a butter knife, knead dough, roll dough, use cookie cutters, juice a lemon, crack eggs, and mixing. When pouring they can experiment with different ways to pour and learn which way is the neatest and most effective.
8. Relationship building – Children love to imitate Mommy and Daddy and they want to do what you are doing. Plus spending quality time working side by side together on a project is simply priceless.
It’s a virtual classroom right in the kitchen! The learning possibilities are really endless yet we are having fun and spending quality time together.
What is your child’s favorite activity in the kitchen?