So you rush in the house dropping everything in your wake including your kid only to hear those dreaded words, "I'm hunrgy...." said with a whine. You are trying to hold it together but then you think, hey why not let them cook with me.
Ok so maybe you're not thinking that but you should cook with your kids more often. Why? You ask. Children learn many skills and lessons that often can only be expereinced in the kitchen. Early math skills such as comparing, contrasting, non-standard and standard measurements are lessons that are hard to tell a child but when shown, children can learn these skills on their own while helping in the kitchen. Science vocabuarly such as evaporation, dissolving, hypothesis, and many more can be easily experienced through cooking activities instead of simply memorizing them. Cooking experiences are a way of social emotional education for children as they learn their family recipes and the stories of how they came to be or where they came from. This builds a child's self esteem in their own culture and hertiage.
In the early childhood settings, these activities can get a little messy but are a true way for children to learn and experience all of these essential educational techniques. From homemade play dough (pictured above in our Dolphins classroom) to making applesauce (look for next Wednesday's blog), all recipes can be modified to let children do something in the experience. From stirring the mixture, pouring the ingredients, or just taste testing, children will learn from every opportunity that they are included in.
Allowing your child to spread the frosting, put on the garnish, stir in the water...all of these build not only their fine motor skills but it builds relationships with you or the head chef in charge. Sometimes the world consumes us and we don't know what to do, but by letting your child be a small part of preparing a meal or setting up for one, our outlooks and perspectives can change. It will not only create memories for them but it can change your state of mind to a more positive out look. Plus it's always fun to throw flour on your face and pretend that you've worked hard in the kitchen.
Children (and adults) of all abilities and skill level can help in some way, so get in the kitchen and do some cooking together. The next time it gets crazy and the traIl from the door is a mile long just remember....You can never relive the past but you can prepare for the future by living and sharing the present and licking the spoon of happiness together.
Look for more cooking and outdoor learning experiences each Wednesday.