Did you know that cooking with your children boosts their development?
Stir the pancake mix, measure one cup of water, roll out the dough…all of these cooking tasks help children develop necessary academic, cognitive and motor skills. Each time you let your children help you prepare a meal, you are also preparing them for success in school and in life. Cooking with your children offers a wide variety of opportunities to learn and grow!
At Skippy’s, we make cooking a regular activity, and you can do it at home too. The children love it, and it benefits them in all the following ways:
Increases Language Development
As you cook, you are labelling ingredients which increases a child’s vocabulary. They also have to follow directions which enhances receptive language skills. While cooking, we explain each step and have the children describe what they are doing for even greater language development. For more advanced learning, we have them predict what will happen next or guess what the next ingredient would be.
Enhances Fine Motor Skills
Mixing the ingredients, rolling the dough and using cookie cutters are all great ways to enhance a child’s fine motor strength and control. These are skills needed to develop academic skills such as writing, cutting and colouring. We improve these skills even more by allowing them to slowly pour ingredients into a bowl or quickly mix ingredients together.
Increases Math Ability
Cooking involves a great deal of measurement. Children learn various measurements such as cups, teaspoons and tablespoons. They will also understand fractions and use addition and subtraction skills. Cooking builds maths skills!
Improves Reading Skills
When cooking with children, have them help us “read” the recipes. For example, we show them the numbers such as “2” cups of flour and “4” tablespoons of butter, or point out letters that they have learned. They have to listen and follow the directions. This also helps build the foundations for reading comprehension.
Introduces Children to Scientific Concepts
Cooking involves a great deal of science. They learn what happens when certain ingredients are mixed together as well as what happens when the measurements are incorrect.
Increases Focus and Attention
When cooking, the children need to stay focused and pay attention to each detail or the recipe will not be completed correctly. In a cooking class, if we miss a step, the final product will not turn out correctly. The children learn quickly that they have to pay attention if they want to eat that brownie or cookie at the end!
Teaches Life Skills
Cooking is a skill that is needed to be an independent adult. This will allow them to be more independent and responsible individuals. Cooking also teaches them various safety lessons such as how to use a knife correctly.
Promotes Healthy Eating
Allowing children to cook helps them learn what foods are healthy and what are not. It encourages them to try new food that they may have not tried otherwise.
When the children successfully complete a recipe, they feel a sense of pride and confidence. In addition, as they cook more their level of independence increases, which in turn boosts their level of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Encourages Team Work, Sharing and Collaboration
Cooking is a task that the whole family participates in and enjoys! The children learn to share utensils and ingredients, take turns at stirring and pouring, and help each other do the steps to complete the recipe, which helps them build social skills. Cooking brings everyone together and creates a bonding experience.
So why wait? Get the ingredients and recipe books out, and start cooking!