With the holidays approaching, there are many opportunities to involve our children in activities to help them learn new skills. Cooking with our kids is a great way to spend time together, while involved in purposeful activity. But there’s much more that happens when we invite our kids to engage in the kitchen. Cooking is a visual, spatial, tactile, hands-on activity that can reinforce classroom learning while developing fundamental cognitive skills.
- See, Touch, Do: Young children have an innate need to see, touch and do. Cooking is full of visual, tactile opportunities that help them develop their fine motor skills, coordination and “lost in the moment” kind of concentration. Pouring liquids, rolling piecrust and stirring are all things that will attract and engage your child.
- Measurements and Math: While cooking, you can help you kids learn to count, measure and divide. Counting eggs, measuring dry ingredients and having “real life” opportunities to experience fractions are far more impactful ways of learning math than seeing those concepts on classroom worksheets.
- Reading: Have your kids read the recipe as you gather the ingredients. Reading the words while seeing the physical ingredient allows them to connect written words with the physical object it represents. Reading numbers helps them see the way written numbers relate to physical quantities.
- Organization: Cooking requires us to gather, measure, and do in a very specific order, and includes a lot of moving parts. There are ingredients, bowls, spoons, pans and so much more to manage. Be intentional about presenting and working through the steps in an orderly way for your child’s benefit.
- Giving: We all benefit when we work towards a common goal. Cooking together allows your child to experience teamwork, shared purpose and the satisfaction of contribution. Your child will beam with pride when they share their food with family.
Adults also benefit from time spent making and doing. After a stressful day at work, it can feel good to let our minds turn off and get our hands involved. This holiday season, enjoy some time making and doing for yourself and with your kids.