Cooking is a messy, delicious, sometimes time-consuming activity, especially when done with a little one or two (or more!) helping you along the way. While you would love to send your child off to play while you make a meal, knowing you can get it done in minutes. But we at MOM & TINY TOTS engage little ones with a little prep and forethought. We just cannot explain what your child will get out of the experience is pretty amazing.
While we engage kids in to kitchen experience process, they learn science in action, basic math, reading and time-telling skills, encouraging healthy food choice, building confidence and creativity. How?? Here we go…
SCIENCE IN ACTION
What happens if we forget to add baking powder in banana bread? Why do we add salt to cookie dough? Though they may not be ready to grasp the complex scientific explanations behind the chemical reactions, preparing and cooking food is a great time to ask questions and test out the results.
As we prepare a recipe with your little one, we would be probably talking about what we are adding. Often recipes include fractions, with some recipes calling for ingredients measured in weight and others in wet or dry volume. The exposure to these ideas, plus seeing math in the context of real life, helps to lay a basic math foundation.
Time is a challenging concept for little ones to grasp, but each time they experience you setting a timer and waiting for it to alert them when your food is done cooking helps to form an understanding of something very abstract.
PRE-LITERACY AND READING FOUNDATIONS
Reading recipes aloud is another opportunity for child to enrich their vocabulary through listening to new words or different ways they are put together into instructions, rather than a story. Watching teacher reading left-to-right, top-to-bottom reinforces a basic literacy and reading foundation. And for children that are able to read, recipes offer a new format to practice.
HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES
Often children are more likely to eat food they have prepared, even if it is something they may not taste otherwise. Modeling healthy food choices (including moderation of sweet, salty and fatty food) now in cooking and preparing meals will help little ones build a healthy attitude toward eating and food that will continue on into their adulthood.
Cooking simple, no-fail recipes with toddlers or preschoolers sets little ones up for success. By creating something from scratch that they are then able to eat and enjoy builds the confidence to try new things, cooking or otherwise.
As many adults know, cooking is as much an art as it is a science. The process of tasting and adding new ingredients or spices is an exciting, creative and important-feeling endeavor that children are excited to undertake.
– Cooking or preparing a meal together takes clear communication in order to succeed. As teacher read through a recipe or instruct little one on a cooking step both enhancing communication skills; little one is learning how to communicate instructions based on modeling.