Have you had your children cook with you? Include them next time you cook dinner and teach your children about healthy food choices. Children can explore new foods, learn about nutrition and develop math and reading skills.
Here are four skills children develop through cooking:
- Math: Kids learn weights, liquid measures, dry measures, fractions, addition, multiplication and division from one recipe.
- Reading: Recipes are predictable texts—they use the same words over and over again. That means that beginning readers can decipher them with just a little practice.
- Geography: Cook something from another country for an international learning experience!
- Science: Recipes work because of science—leave out the baking powder and the muffins won't rise. Cooking is full of hands-on science.
Your children will learn about various ingredients and nutritional value through cooking. Not to mention, cooking is a skill they can utilize for the rest of their life.
Here are 15 tips to help make cooking safe and fun.
Planning is Key
Invite your child to help plan a meal or pick a recipe. Make a list of ingredients that you'll need and search for them in the kitchen. If you don't have all the ingredients, have your child make a list and head to the store. This way, children can learn how to organize and follow through, as well as think ahead.
Keep Germs Away
Always wash your hands before cooking. Children are constantly touching anything and everything. Make sure to reiterate to them the importance of cleaning up and not to spread germs.
Create a Safe Place
Set up a work area at a lower height or offer children a stool if you know they can balance on it. Remove any sharp objects from their reach.
Anything can go wrong in the kitchen. Children can burn their hands on the stove, place a towel too close to the burner, slip on water or slice their little fingers. Needless to say, stay in the kitchen until all the cooking is finished.
Make Clear Rules
Explain to your kids about the stove and oven. Always keep pan and utensil handles turned towards the back of the stove.
Offer your child wooden or plastic utensils. If older children are able to use grown-up equipment, monitor them carefully. Avoid giving children graters, as fingers can easily get scraped.
Ask your child to read each instruction aloud as you prepare the food. Children will get a sense of taking turns and following directions from a recipe.
Develop Math Skills
Your child can count and help measure ingredients to build math skills. When cooking with more than one child, ask each one to count the stirs as he or she whips the batter.