We all lead such busy lives and the art of cooking is slowly getting lost in this whirlwind we call life. However, despite how busy life can get cooking in the home is more important than you may think, for your children’s sake, and theirs … eventually! Cooking food using fresh, wholesome ingredients subconsciously instils healthy eating habits in your children because, after all, we are a product of our environment. If your children are used to seeing fresh ingredients, this is what they will turn to when it’s time for them to step into a kitchen.
Children love getting their hands dirty, but particularly love feeling like an adult, having “responsibilities” and doing all the things that adults do. This is where getting your children involved in the cooking process is not only a great activity to keep them occupied, but is also particularly great for their development in more ways than one.
But who has time?? Preparing meals of any kind with children is a challenge in itself, let along trying to get the kids involved! But how about on a Sunday afternoon, when things are much calmer and there’s another adult in the room? It’s a great activity to do as a family!!
Here are some of the reasons why cooking with children can be more than just a family bonding experience … if you allow it!
Numerical Awareness and Maths.
Cooking often requires the use of specific amounts of ingredients, and these amounts are almost always spread across different measuring units (grams vs mls). Depending on age of course, discussions can be instigated to explore the differing types of measurement units and why they are used along with the practice of basic math principles like addition and subtraction. Hands on learning like this is one of the most effective forms of teaching!!
Communication and Comprehension.
Another important process of cooking is that fact that you must follow a recipe, which is much like a list of instructions. Therefore, whilst cooking, children need to follow a sequence of steps which helps them to understand the importance of process, which also simultaneously challenges their comprehension skills. If they can, get them to help you read the recipe and dictate what should be done to achieve the steps they just read.
Cooking as a group requires lots of communication but also requires the allocation of ‘jobs’, like mixing, rolling, pouring and measuring, to make sure that everyone is contributing in some way. It’s a great way for children to feel in control of their allocated ‘jobs’ and feel satisfied by doing something correctly, which builds their self-esteem dramatically and in turn boosts their confidence levels! It also helps them to practice their social skills like having to share cooking utensils and waiting their turn for things.
It doesn’t have to be every day, but trying to implement family cooking time, whilst they are still young and eager to help, is a great opportunity to do something as a family but is also a great hands-on learning environment without them even realising it!!
Hope you can get cooking as a family soon!!