March 5, 2013

Cooking/Baking with Your Kids: Spending Time and Learning Too

Why Cook/Bake with Your Kids?

In my last post about being a fit and healthy family I touched upon cooking with your kids.  I wanted to talk more about this topic, because I think its such an important one.  It really boosts self esteem, encourages teamwork, time together and important learning practices, such as, comprehension, following directions, science and math.  And it's fun too!

Cooking is not just about making something to eat to curb your hunger or get the nutrition you need to survive. It’s all about caring, timing and paying attention to what you are doing. When you cook food you are practicing one of the world’s oldest arts and showing those you love how much they mean to you. 

Cooking is also a great way not only to spend time with your kids, but to teach them a few things as well, even if you do use prepackaged mixes, etc. that is fine too, especially when you have young children.  Just the process alone will be great.  They will also learn that you have to take the time to actually have a recipe and the ingredients so you can literally create something with your kids. 

What does cooking/baking teach a child? 

A lot actually and a child, or even an adult, can learn a lot about things from making food. One thing is how important having the correct tools for the job is to accomplishing a task. Without the right tools, cooking can be a real pain in the neck at times.  

Another thing a child can learn from cooking is how important preparation really is. Before you start to make something you need to gather all the needed ingredients and hardware you will need to make the food. This can show a child how being prepared for something before they do it can make whatever it is they are doing easier and the end result ends up being what they want. 

While cooking, it is important to follow the recipe and the instructions that are a part of the recipe. If you do things out of order or in the wrong amounts, your dish will turn out wrong and, quite possible, ruined.  Cooking is a learning process and it takes time and patience.  However, with all of that time and patience you get a positive reward at the end that your child feels good about.  I find that cooking/baking with my preschooler really boosts her confidence.  Even if she is doing little things to help with the dish.  She feels a huge sense of accomplishment when it is finished. 

Following the instructions is not only good while making a recipe but it is also helpful in teaching reading comprehension. You have to be able to understand what the recipe calls for and how to do each step. This is true in any aspect of life, especially work. If you are given a job to perform in a certain way, learning the importance of following instruction at a young age will help them throughout their life. 

It is also easy to incorporate learning about specific topics such as fractions, science and reading while making food with your children. 

11 Learning Activities you can incorporate while Cooking/Baking with Children

  • Identify the colors of the ingredients
  • Identify the ingredients and what they taste like 
  • What letters do the ingredients start with
  • How many ingredients are there
  • Have the children repeat the directions to you
  • Compare the weights of the different ingredients
  • Have the children practice measuring and comparing how much of each ingredient you need, which ingredient you needed the most of?, which ingredient you needed the least of?
  • Have them explain the different textures of the different ingredients.
  • Let them identify the proper tool that is needed for each part of the directions, as you go along.  Which measuring tool is needed for dry ingredients, which is needed for wet ingredients, which tool is needed to mix, cut, etc.
  • Have them draw a picture of the fun time they had with you, while the food is cooking.
  • When finished have them write out the ingredients and instructions on their own, for younger children let them draw pictures of the ingredients and instructions.

Making Memories


When they are happy and enjoying themselves, your children are making memories with you, as well as maybe, traditions.  Such as, making Christmas cookies together, birthday cakes or even if they make one meal with you each week.  They will remember that time together.  Take pictures during the process and have fun.  Make it special, your kids will love it.  Also, always remember that even if you are not a great cook/baker that you should still try it out because I promise you to your kids your awesome and they will love it.  My daughter is still talking about the reindeer sugar cookies we made together at Christmas time.  

Recipes to Try Out from around the Net

Vegetable Pita Pizzas
Frozen Chocolate Bananas
Dipped Pretzels

Kid friendly cooking products/books to help with the process

Books/Recipe Books



Products

Curious Chef 17 Piece Prep
and Measure Kit
Little Partners
Learning Tower
Curious Chef
Apron Set












Other Products

Real Chef Cooking Supplies Kit - Award Winner
Personalized Chef Apron and Hat Set



Have Fun!  and you just never know you might have the next Top Chef in your midst!
                                                   


Click to Read More in the Series

Next Up in the Series:  Grocery Shopping With Kids:  Games and Time Together


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