How does cooking with children support their development?
“Cooking is not about being the best or most perfect cook, but rather it is about sharing the table with family and friends.” – Skye Gyngell
How does cooking with children help with early learning development?
There are so many different aspects to cooking that incorporate learning and development. From language development, reading recipes, and talking through instructions to measuring and weighing ingredients. The coordination for preparation and cooking of a recipe, to telling the time and understanding how long something needs to cook for. All these activities help improve fine motor, reading, math and cognitive skills.
Cooking tips with your preschool child
- Give your child something to do that they enjoy, like mixing cake batter, arranging the pizza topping, using cookie cutters etc.
- Keep it simple and short – let your child explore the activity for as long as they need to before they get bored – maybe put aside five to 10 minutes for them to help.
- Let your child’s interest direct how much you give them to do and for how long.
- Supervise your child at all times in the kitchen, not just for safety measures but to avoid a HUGE mess!
- Use this time to bond and talk with your child, listen to and guide them, encouraging their participation as much as possible.
- Discuss with your child which foods are considered healthy and why. This is an ideal learning opportunity for their lifelong food choices.
- Teach your child about hygiene and cooking, like washing their hands thoroughly beforehand, not licking their fingers whilst preparing food and cooking etc.
- Discuss how important it is to be careful when using different kitchen utensils, such as cheese graters and sharp knives.
- Above all – make it a fun experience for you and your child so that you’ll both want to do it again and again!
Fun, healthy children’s recipe – English Muffin Pizzas
Check out this great resource from Kidspot.com.au
With very little preparation, you can encourage your child to help you make some delicious mini pizzas using English Muffins as the base. Mix up the ingredients and let your child choose their favourites!
St Joseph’s Family Services Programs
At our centres, we embed sustainable practices into our curriculum. This involves growing our own vegetables, herbs and fruits and cooking with the fresh produce from the garden. This teaches children about the full life cycle of plants from seed to plate.
We follow the children’s interests, and many of our cooking recipe ideas come directly from the children or our families.
Cooking has many benefits for children, including math – as they measure how many spoonfuls or cupfuls of each ingredient are needed or help cut ingredients into halves or quarters.
Children learn about pre-reading as we follow the recipe, learning that print has a purpose. Cooking also teaches about science as we observe liquids that change to solids when heat is applied, for example, making muffins or quiche.
Child theorist, Maria Montessori, believed in far-reaching benefits for children’s self-esteem and well-being when they engage in experiences that use real-life tools (for cutting, grating and stirring), such as those used in cooking experiences.
We love cooking with children, just knowing that this could have a long-lasting impact on their health, creativity, general learning, development and life-long skills.
For more information, please get in touch with us