Learning through Cooking with Toddlers & Prechoolers

Cooking with DadMy kids love cooking with me. So how can I use those moments adding ingredients, mixing and stirring to teach my kiddos? Here are some of the learning ideas I came up with:

Cooking with your toddlers:

  • Sequencing steps. It is important for kids to follow specific steps in a process. Example: First, mix eggs, butter and sugar. Then add the flour. Finally, spoon the cookies onto the cookie sheet. This is a great time to discuss consequences and make predictions. If we skip the flour step, can we still make cookies?
  • Exposure to fractions. My preschoolers have learned that fractions are a part of a greater whole by measuring the full amount and then subtracting parts to put in the recipe. Example: While making bread we use six cups of flour, but we add them one at a time to the dough. It takes an extra step to demonstrate fractions as I found that they “get it” more if we start from the whole and work backwards. This typically means I have to measure twice, but the experience is worth it!
  • Learn and practice sensory vocabulary with terms used to describe textures, tastes and physical motions. Examples: Is it soft? hard? wet? clumpy? slimy? etc. Does this taste salty? sweet? bitter? sour? etc. Can you stir, pour, knead, mash, break, etc.
  • Encourage the kids to try new foods. Kids Health made the observation that kids are more likely to try a new food if they have ownership of it, if they feel invested in it as the “chef” or the person who made the meal. Having your children cook with you provides opportunities to discuss wise food choices.
  • Discuss the importance of refrigeration and sanitation while cooking.

Do you have any tips on how to include kids into doing chores? Have you blogged about chores in your household? I’d love to read about your kids successes and hear what chores they participate do in your home. Submit your story to our blog carnival. I’ll feature my favorites sometime next week!

Thanks Eyeliam for sharing the photo.

5 Comments

  1. Wow! Your house sounds fun, educational and yummy! I enjoyed your tips AND your blog.

  2. Cooking with toddlers are fun. I enjoy cooking with my son, too. I often do it with my son but still fail to manage his job description. Anyway, I love your article and wait for another one.

  3. Skills like this are essential, and can be so fun, too!

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