Measuring a half cup of flour, stirring in the eggs, spreading frosting, and a wide variety of cooking tasks all help to support children’s development. They each encourage cognitive, conceptual, and motor skills. Sharing time in the kitchen is not only a lot of fun but an opportunity to teach important skills.
Some of the many benefits of cooking with your children include:
- Improve fine motor skills – Using cookie cutters, stirring with a whisk, running the electric beater, flipping pancakes, and rolling out the dough are all ideal methods of practicing fine motor strength and control. The result helps with cutting, coloring, writing, and typing.
- Develop reading skills – Encourage your child to read the recipe, double-check the order of instructions, and list the ingredients. For younger kids, ask them to find specific words or numbers. For older kids, let them read the steps aloud and follow-through by completing the task.
- Enhance focus – Whether you’re following a recipe, frosting cupcakes, or making a sandwich, attention to detail is essential. Steps need to be completed in order. Kids need to pay attention and remain focused to not only complete the process but to achieve a successful and tasty result.
- Develop language skills – Cooking and baking introduce a lot of new vocabulary. Sift, stir, beat, whip, teaspoon, tablespoon, grate, and chop are just a sample. Even the list of ingredients offers new words. And following directions helps with receptive language skills.
- Learn math skills – There’s a lot of measuring involved in cooking and baking. Kids will learn the difference between quantities such as cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons. They will be exposed to fractions and need to count, add, and subtract.
- Learn science skills – Mixing ingredients together leads to different results. Sometimes the outcome changes with the order that the ingredients are introduced. Kids get to see what happens when the ingredients are combined, heated, cooled, and more.
- Encourage nutrition – Cooking together is a chance to talk about healthy foods. Kids can sample new foods and learn the importance of good nutrition.
- Improve self-confidence – Following a recipe and creating something tasty that can be shared offers a sense of pride. Their accomplishments will boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Develop helpful life skills – Cooking is a helpful skill throughout life. As kids learn to pour milk over cereal, make a sandwich, microwave, and prepare their favorite foods, they are also learning how to become independent and self-sufficient people. This is a great time to introduce important safety lessons as well.
- Create valuable family time – You can choose a specific day of the week or month to cook together. Taco Tuesday, Sunday breakfast, or cookies on Saturday can become a fun tradition as well as a great learning opportunity. Cooking together is a bonding experience and makes wonderful memories as well as good food.