No matter how old they are, your kids will benefit immensely by working with you in the kitchen, putting together a meal. Cooking offers children a variety of learning experiences which they will take well into their adult years.
Our team explains some of the lasting benefits cooking with your children can have:
Boost self confidence and imagination
Each child enjoys being encouraged and supported, thus allowing them to do simple tasks (such as stirring a pot) can make them feel important. Their contribution is further valued with encouragement from the family.
Children are also able to become imaginative with their eating experience. Adding different flavours that work well can teach them to experiment and try new things.
Encourage a healthy relationship with foods
Developing a positive connection and experience with fresh foods from a young age is important to form a foundation of good nutrition. Encouraging cooking, and the use of healthy foods, allows for kids to comprehend the wide variety of vitamins and minerals foods such as fruit and vegetables can offer. Rather than going out and buying a fast food meal that is high in sugar, fat and salt, you can foster healthy habits from a young age that will have life-long benefits.
Furthermore, more often than not, kids are more likely to eat vegetables that they helped to peel and slice themselves. Kids are also more likely to try new foods by tasting a nibble during the process of cooking, which is less daunting than a full serving on a plate.
Build basic skills
When cooking with your child, no matter their age, you will more than likely be working as a team to produce a product. This in turn encourages team work and displays that the combined efforts of more than one individual can produce greater results.
- Maths and measuring
Whilst they might not notice it, children are able to hone in on their maths and measuring skills by counting the number of tablespoons or cups of ingredients, for example. For the older kids they are able to practice fractions with measuring cups and measuring spoons, especially when halving or doubling recipes.
- Reading and comprehension skills
Reading labels and recipes is great real-life practice of language and vocabulary skills. Even little ones who may not be too familiar with a lot of cooking terms are able to look for words on the recipe that they may know and even learn some new vocabulary along the way.
- Following directions
Understanding a recipe teaches great project management. In order to succeed, kids must first read through all the steps, gather ingredients, then put it all together.
Explore sensory experiences
Cooking offers kids the opportunity to explore by touching, tasting, feeling, smelling and listening. Working with food lets a child focus on their senses, individually as well as collectively. In addition, kids can improve their fine motor skills when helping in the kitchen.
Overall, cooking with kids is a great way to bond as a family. Just ensure to keep in mind that safety is paramount when allowing children into the kitchen. Time spent together in the kitchen encourages interaction and communication between parents and children. Not only is it an opportunity to create a great home cooked meal, it also allows for good fun!