LeafSpring School at Sonterra

November 2, 2020

Family Fun – The Benefits of Cooking with your Kids!

dhemphill

With the holidays right around the corner the smells of baking and cooking delicious meals  are in the air.  Let this year be the year that you introduce your child to the wonders of the kitchen.  Whether its spreading the peanut butter on their sandwich or helping to slice cucumbers  for the family’s dinner salad, your kids will enjoy helping!

NAEYC lists some of the many benefits children gain when they cook with you:

From laying the foundation for basic math concepts to instilling healthy eating habits, there can be numerous benefits when you have your kids help with the cooking.

  • Children strengthen their fine motor skills through cutting, pouring and scooping.
  • They develop a basic understanding of math concepts like understanding volume through measuring different ingredients.
  • Children learn the concept of sequencing through reading recipes and discussing what comes first, second, and third in the cooking process.
  • Children expand their vocabulary as they are exposed to new words and terms

Helpful tips to make the experience fun and enjoyable for all:

  • Keep it simple. There will be a time for making mousse and soufflé, but it is not now. Cutting up a banana or ripe fig can be just as satisfying as preparing multistep desserts that require for precision.
  • Let your child lead. Does your toddler love fruit? Let her select the ingredients for fruit salad.  Does you child love carrots? Have your child shred the carrots to make a carrot cake.
  • Start with basics. Think about the skills your child already has (can he cut playdough or can he pour water into his cup) Think about the skills your child need to work on (is she studying measurements or going over fractions in school) Choose recipes that match his or her skill level. Make pretzels. Make popsicles. Make a pizza and but equal amount of pepperoni on quarters of a pizza.
  • Build up. Once she can cut fruit and pour liquid, you can combine those two skills into making smoothies.
  • Expand skills as their development permits. When you notice that he can resist tasting the raw ingredients, you can introduce cracking raw eggs for scrambling.
  • Prep and plan when possible. If you are trying a complex project like making muffins, pre-measure the ingredients into separate containers and have all your supplies ready before you invite your toddler over. If you are working with your preschooler or school age child then you can have them help gather and measure out the ingredients.
  • Invite your child to help clean up. Your toddler can “wash” plastic dishes in a bin of soapy water, sweep, and sponge up spills. Your older child can help wash and rinse out the different pans and utensils used to make your dish.
  • Eat your results and enjoy!

 

While the idea of inviting your child into the kitchen seems like a daunting task, remember that it is all in the name of fun and learning.
Messes and spills can always be cleaned, but they are only little for a little while.
by Dorothy  Hemphill

 

Sources: https://families.naeyc.org/WOYC/children-learn-so-much-cooking; https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/cooking-tiny-helper; https://www.culinarynutrition.com/top-25-kid-friendly-food-blogs