For many years now, I have enjoyed combining two of my favorite topics; cooking and education. Cooking can be a fun pastime to share with children of all ages. But it’s more than just an engaging activity… Cooking is absolutely bursting with opportunities for children to develop new skills!
Just a few of the many skills that are developed through cooking:
- Vocabulary Development – names of foods, cooking terms, procedural language
- Following Directions – single and multi-step directions
- Sequencing Skills – following the steps in the directions, retelling the sequence of steps
- Fine Motor Skill Development – stirring, pouring, mashing, cutting soft objects
- Hand-Eye Coordination
- Social Emotional Development – feeling pride and sense of accomplishment, following directions, turn-taking, participation
- Science Knowledge – change of state from liquid to solid, heating and cooling, dissolving
- Math Knowledge – measuring, counting
- Willingness to experiment with new foods – kids may be more open to trying something they had a hand in making
A few tips to help make your cooking experience enjoyable for everyone:
- Give yourself extra time.
- Be prepared for a little extra mess.
- Select tasks which are age-appropriate for your child. (Kids are expert mixers, pourers, and banana-mashers!) Give them tasks to keep them occupied between steps.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare! In the culinary field, one often hears the French phrase, “mise en place”. Essentially, this translates to “everything in its place”. It simply involves the practice of gathering, measuring, and preparing all ingredients prior to beginning the cooking process. This practice is useful for all cooking, but is especially helpful when you’re working with young kids, with short attention spans.
- Don’t forget to model good sanitary practices, such washing hands and using clean utensils. (Keep a few extra spoons nearby so you can quickly replace spoons used for tasting!)
Children learn best when they are engaged in meaningful, hands-on activities. So, next time you’re in the kitchen, grab your kid (or borrow someone else’s) and get cooking!
**NEW** Check out this collection of kid-friendly recipes! Click HERE!
Cool Kids’ Cooking Gear
Though no special gear is required to start cooking with your kids, here are a few fun cooking accessories for little chefs:
Cooking with Kids Resources and Websites
Great pictures! I can’t wait to be able to cook with my little one.
It’s really the best! They get so much out of it. How old is your little one?
Can’t wait! We bond over our little creations! They love it…and so much learning can be integrated! Good luck 🙂
This is something I’m also looking forward to. My son is a little over 2, and doesn’t have this kind of attention span yet, plus our tiny kitchen is not very conducive to having a little one “help”.
Thanks for the suggestions. I know I should involve the kids more in cooking, but the extra time and mess often stop me from doing so. I had an epiphany this week about how to cut down on the mess using freebie medicine spoons to measure ingredients. (If you’re interested, I posted about it here: http://whitepicketprojects.blogspot.com/2012/04/less-mess-cooking-with-little-chefs.html.) But I love your insights and look forward to more of your ideas. Thanks!
I love this! I’m a nanny and I’m always looking for new things to do with the kids. Awesome site!