Do you know your kitchen is an excellent classroom for your children? Yes, that is true because when you create meals with your children in a fun, playful way they will understand the language and maths concepts more easily. What’s more, this experience will help imbibe healthy eating habits in them and build their self-confidence.
So how do you go about it? On your part, you will have to do some prep work before deciding the recipe to cook and keeping the ingredients and equipment ready to turn the culinary adventure into an amazing learning activity, which your children will look forward to.
Cooking and Linguistic Skills
The list of words children are likely to learn while preparing food is endless – they will be exposed to names of different ingredients and verbs such as boiling, rolling, chopping, roasting, basting, frying and adjectives such as sweet, salty, bland, juicy, bitter, coarse and lumpy.
When preparing food, you can ask them to pass on the ingredients or describe how the taste of the food feels. This way they will learn new words each time they cook food with you. Also, if you are following a recipe from a cookbook, you can read it aloud or if they’re old enough, ask your children to read it for you. It will help improve their reading and comprehension ability.
Cooking and STEM
Measuring out ingredients with a measuring cup or spoons draws on the concept of volume. Other opportunities such as asking children to count the number of cookies on the tray and removing a few can help them learn addition and subtraction more concretely. Introduce them to the concept of sorting by asking them to sort out ingredients by colour or shape.
Each time they ask you a question about why a certain recipe cooks so quickly at a specific temperature while others not will help build their science skills.
Building on Healthy Eating Habits
When you focus on preparing healthy foods, children are quickly able to grasp why certain foods such as processed, deep-fried or sugary foods are unhealthy, and why few ingredients such as essential herbs or oils, fruits and vegetables are beneficial for our health, thereby paving the way to new learning opportunities. It will greatly enhance their knowledge about nutrition, calories, portion sizes, food labels and so on . In the process, you not just teach them different concepts of math, science and language but also instil in them virtues such as problem-solving skills, motivation, patience, cleanliness etc.
Research reveals children who help cook at home eat healthier foods and enjoy them than children who don’t cook with their parents.
Boost creativity by arranging food in an attractive way
Arranging food in a creative way is linked to an increased desire to eat it. Plating food in an attractive way can also improve your child’s creativity or artistic skills and there’s less possibility of food wastage.
Young children are curious to try out things and inviting them to help you assemble a food can make them gain a sense of accomplishment. Some activities that your children can perform independently or little help from you are sprinkling cheese on a sandwich, mashing potatoes or using cookie cutters on rolled dough.
The kitchen is an ideal place to explore senses as well. Invite your children to help you whip the cream or pound the dough to feel different textures. As the food sizzles, pops, crunches or bubbles, they will experience different types of sounds and as they see food cook they’ll observe how it changes colour and shape.
At the end of the experience, you will not only have created a delicious meal for you and your family to enjoy, but would have bonded with your child and engaged them in a fun, holistic learning experience.
If you are looking for a safe and loving childcare center in Doncaster, we invite you to visit Aurora Early Education Center and know how we can meet your child’s and your needs through loving care and play-based learning.