The Tastiest Place to Learn
For many of our readers, the education of young children has always been part of your job description. However, who has suddenly taken on the care of more school agers and found yourselves juggling the needs of babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary students? If you're a parent, you may be trying to work a full or part-time job from home AND homeschool your children. All of this under the cloud of anxiety and uncertainty during an unprecedented global pandemic. It's overwhelming. No doubt about it.
But, guess what? There is a common denominator among us. We ALL have to eat and more than ever, we're doing so in homes instead of restaurants and cafeterias. How do we make the task of educating and nourishing children (and ourselves) as efficient as possible?
Cook WITH children. There it is. Problem solved!! Cooking is a wonderful way to integrate math, science, and literacy into an activity you have to do everyday. It also checks off many early learning standard boxes. Social-emotional, motor development, physical development, and social studies to name a few. Cooking with children also has the bonus side benefit of encouraging healthier and more adventurous eating, with potential for positive lifelong impact.
Comparison and Measurement
Sequencing and patterns
Changing quantities (addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions)
Weight and cooking time
Shapes of food and equipment used
Basic nutrition lessons about food groups and how food reacts in our bodies
Cause and effect
Learning how food changes while cooking or cooling (texture, color, smell, size)
Working with the five senses
Learning new vocabulary words (food, kitchen tools, cooking methods, measurement, temperature)
Writing a shopping list or menu
Sequencing skills while following directions
Social Emotional Skills
Building confidence and self-esteem
Development of problem solving skills
Taking turns and working together with others
Physical Well Being and Motor Development
Learning about impact of nutrition and health
Pouring, stirring, measuring, spreading, squeezing, kneading and rolling dough, slicing, flipping or turning
Cultural eating patterns
Learning where food comes from (gardens, farms, factories, delivery drivers, grocery stores)
Contribution to needs of family/Understanding importance of cooking in household or group childcare setting
When working with multiple age levels, be sure to delegate tasks appropriate to ability. For instance, have the older children read the recipe, then have them work in teams to prep and measure ingredients, then take turns pouring, stirring, or assembling. Involve everyone in setting and cleaning up work areas and dining surfaces. Review math concepts, vocabulary words, and science lessons while cooking. Talk about the project afterward to reinforce learning. Also, always be sure to have age-appropriate tools to maximize both safety and confidence and implement strict food safety and sanitation practices.
Bon Appetit! 😋