Cooking is an opportunity for education. Recipes encourage reading, measurement and the importance of following directions. Modeling proper cooking skills while working with children provides them with a positive example and the ability to participate. Find ways to incorporate school subjects while cooking with children through tying in spelling words or basic math while following a recipe or planning a family meal.
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Children of all ages benefit from cooking activities, which teach measurement, encourage children to explore their senses and entice them to try new foods. Cooking is a beneficial skill, teaching about different types of ingredients and healthy eating. By educating children about cooking and introducing them to fun and tasty recipes, they will make better eating decisions and take pride in cooking their own food.
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There are many benefits to getting your kids in the kitchen with you. Not only will you save yourself a little time with dinner, but your kids will learn valuable life skills.
- Reading, Math Skills: Encourage your kids to read the recipes and help you measure the ingredients. Younger kids can look for the numbers on the measuring spoons and cups and then help you pour in the ingredients. You can play "I Spy" with these little ones to find the measuring spoon with a 1 or 2 on it.
- Communication: Talking with your kids when cooking will develop communication skills that will help them in school, with their friends and someday with their jobs. Talk about the foods you will cook, their favorite recipes and meals, and what new fruits or vegetables they would like to try.
- Healthy Eating: Spending time in the kitchen can give your child a chance to experience the smells and touch of new foods. Have a color contest to see how many different fruits and vegetables your child can add to one meal. Your kids learn by watching you. Eat the fruits and veggies and your kids will too!
- Time: Set a timer and help kids learn the concept of time.
- Confidence: Younger cooks are eager to learn in the kitchen, and cooking with your older kids will boost their pride and confidence. Let them help you come up with new ideas and menus for your family. Kids are more likely to eat what they cook. Let their creativity flow, and make a big deal when you serve "Nathan's Sunny Salad." They won't forget your pride and you will give them the confidence to try other new ideas.
Author: Leslie Elliott, RD, CDN