Kids in the Kitchen!
Did you know that involving children in the kitchen assists with multiple types of development?
Language & Literacy
As you cook with your child, you can vocalise everything you are doing as you are doing it, you are reading the ingredients and the method from your recipe, you are reading out the labels on the products. You are asking you children to pass you this, mix that, pour this, now taste that!
Every step in a recipe will involve some form of communication between you and your child. With older children you could even go as far as asking them to describe what it is they are doing, predict what is going to happen next and verbalise all the ingredients that they are using.
For younger children, it might be as simple as identifying and matching up ingredients in the recipe, or finding numbers in the recipe, such as “1” cup or “2” teaspoons. Older children might even be able to assist in reading certain parts of the recipe – or following the directions in the recipe after you have read them out to them – this assists with your child’s comprehension!
Gross & Fine Motor Skills
Allowing children into the kitchen is a wonderful way to enhance your child’s gross and fine motor skills. These gross and fine motor skills are important and needed later in life for a multitude of reasons, such as writing, cutting, manipulation, coordination, precision etc.
You can get children involved by getting them to chop, mix, pour, whisk, squeeze, scoop and spreading ingredients – all of these are fundamental movements which will have a positive impact on your child. Cooking also presents the opportunity for children to hone in on there hand-eye co-ordination skills.
Cooking can also contribute to the development of your children’s muscles! Let them lift that bag of flour out of the pantry, let them mix the pancake batter in the bowl, let them roll out the dough with a wooden rolling pin. All of these may seem like a small task to you, but to your child it is a physical challenge that will assist with their gross motor skills!
Mathematics & Science
Cooking actually involves a lot of maths and science! Ingredients need to be measured or weighed before being combined. This is then teaching children about weight, size, shapes, ratio, and volume. It also leads to the intentional teaching of addition, subtraction, fractions, sequencing and cause and effect.
When certain ingredients are combined, they might even have a specific reaction – such as melting, bubbling, dissolving, and also what happens when you get your quantities wrong and your final product doesn’t turn out as you would expect it to! Lot’s of room for trial & error in the kitchen!
You can even turn your everyday cooking and baking into a game of science and sensory for your children! Looking at all of the ingredients you will be using, listening to the food frying in the pan, smelling the aroma’s of the fresh bread in your oven, licking the bowl clean to taste the batter and feeling the texture of your freshly baked cookies in your mouth.
Healthy Eating & Nutrition
Allowing children to assist in the kitchen gives them a different view on food, they can make little discoveries about whether food is healthy or not healthy, or if they enjoy them. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss the food groups, where it might come from, why we eat it, what kind of nutritional value the food might have and how often should we be eating certain types of food.
By including your child in the preparation of their own meals, they are more likely to be less fussy when it comes to new and different foods. Giving them the opportunity to also plate up their own meals also helps to teach them about portion control.
Children have the opportunity to see what things look like before and after they are cooked – this helps to make food more visually appealing, remember we eat with our eyes first. Children who cook, can become children who taste, who may then turn into children who eat… everything!
“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.”
– Guy Fieri
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