How often are your kids in the kitchen? At my house, they’re hanging out whenever a meal is on the horizon — or even when it’s not! While preparing meals is often a crazy endeavor with a toddler hanging on my legs and hungry preschoolers begging for a taste, it’s good for me to remember that my kids can learn a lot just by pulling up a stool.
If you think the kitchen is only good for cooking, think again! Not only is the kitchen the meal-prep, homework and eating area in many households, but it’s also the perfect place for kids to learn valuable life skills, lessons and values. Keep reading to discover learning opportunities for kids in the kitchen.
1. Literacy: Have kids read the recipe steps out loud as you make dinner. This allows kids to practice their reading skills, introduces them to new words and cooking terms, and teaches the importance of following directions.
2. How to learn from mistakes: A major benefit of cooking with your kids is that it gives them the perfect opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Cooking mistakes are bound to happen, but you can show kids that a little improvisation or creativity can often fix a meal.
3.Vocabulary: When you get back from the grocery store, have kids sort foods into groups by color, size, shape or texture. This can also be a great vocabulary builder for young children.
4. Math: Measuring and adding ingredients to a bowl is the perfect way to practice counting with your younger kids. For older kids, use measuring cups to practice fractions, or have them double and triple the amounts called for in a recipe.
5. Fine motor development: Letting kids help out with stirring, measuring or slicing ingredients (with a plastic knife if they’re too young to use sharp tools) might slightly slow down your meal prep, but helping out with easy recipes for dinner can make kids much more receptive to trying new foods. Eating a variety of foods at a young age can lead to healthier eating habits later in life. This will also teach kids basic cooking skills that they’ll use all their lives.
6. Responsibility: When kids participate in preparing ingredients, setting the table or washing the dishes after a meal, they’re learning how to be organized and responsible. Plus, it’s a big help for you!
7. Science: Cooking with kids is a fun way to learn about science, too. From boiling water to watching bread rise, there are countless opportunities to witness science in action as you cook.
There are so many opportunities for kids to benefit from spending time in the kitchen, and it’s also a great way to bond as a family. Do you have any other ideas for fun ways to learn at home?
This was a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Readyseteat.