The challenge every parent faces each year:
As a home school mom, I face this challenge year round as I don’t have anyone making lesson plans or planning activities for me.
If you ask my kids their favorite way to learn any subject it’s through hands on, creative projects, especially when yummy food is involved.
I challenge you to get your kids involved in cooking with you.
Cooking with kids doesn’t only have to be making cookies, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner, too! Maybe not every meal, but on a regular basis, a couple times a week. It’s a great time to unplug, bond together as a family, and enjoy each others company. Cooking with kids may be messy and take a bit longer, but if you’re mentally prepared for that, it can go a lot smoother.
Cooking together with your kids is a great way to entice picky eaters to try new things and eat healthier.
If kids are involved in making decisions and preparing the food, they’re more likely to want to eat it, or at least try it.
Cooking with kids also offers great learning opportunities for all ages, incorporating science, reading, math, creativity (art), innovation, problem solving, cooperation, and much more. You can choose recipes from other countries and incorporate geometry and world cultures, there are so many endless benefits to cooking with your kids!
A great place to start is, of course, with desert.
Having to switch to eating gluten-free recently, I wanted to give my 8 year old son a special treat. I bought a gluten free brownie mix (yes, even cooking with a ready-made mix has plenty of learning involved!)
He is learning to read, so it was the perfect time for him to get some practice. He read the box and set the oven temperature himself. The box called for an 8x8x2 size pan, so we discussed what that meant and discovered, to his momentary dismay, we had no pan that size (it was in use in the fridge). We had to get thinking! I armed him with a measuring tape and together we picked out a similar size pan. I didn’t want a gooey mess inside my oven, so he needed to measure the pan (it was not marked with the size) to make sure it was not too small.
He predicted the pan was just large enough, so we went ahead with the making. It was about 11x6x1 1/2. He did all the measuring of the ingredients, which required more reading, figuring out measurements and deciding which tools he needed (measuring glass cup vs the measuring scoops).
When I bake with my younger child, I do the measuring and let her pour and mix, while I point out the words and numbers in the recipe and show her where they are on the measuring tools, often asking her to tell me when I’ve reached a certain measurement in the glass when I’m pouring liquids.
My son did all the work this time and then my daughter decided to join us just as we put the pan in the oven. We counted up as I set the timer.
When they were done licking the bowl, my son got the honor of washing the dishes. He grumbled about that some, but that is part of cooking, as I explained. I put the ingredients away and wiped down the counter and my daughter threw the garbage away. It was a team effort and “many hands make light work” as they say.
Even though we greased the pan well, the brownies were stuck tight! I used the opportunity to praise him for not getting upset, that we learned that this is not the best pan to use for brownies so we’ll know next time. I don’t believe failure is a bad thing, I think it’s a huge part of the learning process and kids should not be afraid of it. The more you fail, the more you’ve learned and can improve. And the better equipped you are to deal with bigger failures in the future.
Thanks for sharing these
I have been meaning to get my daughter more active in the kitchen.. this post just reminded of that 🙂 I think making their fav foods is a good way to get them interested and stay interested!
The Golden Rule Kids says
I think this is great idea. It teaches them so much and something you can bond over!
Shelly Aristizabal says
Cooking together is great! Really builds self-confidence too! Last night I ask my son to turn over the chicken breast on the grill – he was so proud of the dinner he grilled!!!
Awesome that you trusted him with that! I know what you mean, my son was so proud when he was able to cook eggs all by himself.
Anne Campbell says
My son loves to cook, and you're right, the kitchen is such a great place for learning alongside each other while creating something delicious.
This is so true! Great ideas! Have you heard of "Let's Move?" It's another great resource when it comes to this topic! http://www.letsmove.gov
No I hadn't, just checked it out and what an awesome idea! I'll be getting involved with Let's Move
Great post! We love cooking together as a family! Dinner is a favorite. Great way to relax, be together and talk about our day! ~Jenn
Great to hear!