Instead of your kids running around the house getting into everything while you’re trying to cook, get them involved in the cooking process. Allowing kids to help cook promotes education through counting, measuring, fractions, experimenting, and so much more. The best part of letting your kids help you prepare the meal is that they don’t know they are actually learning! Here are 8 tips for getting the kids involved in cooking.
1. Let them get the ingredients
Searching for ingredients in the refrigerator, the cupboard, and the pantry is a great way for your child to build special skills, learn colors, and distinguish the different types of food. If you need more than one of something, you can even throw in some math skills. There is no limit to the learning you can give to your child just from letting them gather ingredients.
2. Let them measure
Kids love getting messy and getting their hands into stuff. Kids really learn from having tangible items to experiment with. Give your kids a chance to measure out the milk you need, the water, or determine how much butter to use. These are great opportunities to teach fractions, measuring skills, problem-solving strategies, and much more.
3. Let them mix
When you let your children mix ingredients in a big bowl, you not only give them an opportunity to use their energy productively, but you help work their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are essential for proper writing etiquette in school.
4. Let your kids set the table
Setting the table involves math skills because your kids have to count how many people are in the house and then count out the plates, silverware, or napkins. This is also a great way to get them to organize and problem solve. For example, they will learn how to order things on the table and determine if a bowl or a plate is better for spaghetti.
5. Give your kids opportunities to read
Whether your kids are reading or not, you can help them read the directions on the back of a box or in a cookbook. Even if your kids can’t read, they can follow along as you read. Once finished, you can test their comprehension by asking what we should do first. Cooking and reading go hand-in-hand.
6. Allow your kids to lead
If your kids are fluent readers, let them lead the dinner preparations for the night. As your kids get older, their skillset differs, and they can offer more to the dinner table than before. Let them choose what to eat for dinner, and allow them to make it offering assistance as needed. This not only builds leadership skills but it helps your child build self-esteem, self-confidence, and independence.
7. Do an Experiment with logical order
A big problem in school is writing in a logical time sequence. Kids need to understand that the order you do things can make a big difference. Teach these logical order skills by making one recipe out of order and doing another recipe in order. See what happens.
8. Let them do prep work
Although you may not want to give your child a knife, there are plenty of prepping activities your child can do to help you cook. You can give them a peeler to peel potatoes, give them a grater to grate cheese or veggies, and you can use an apple slicer to slice various fruits and veggies for your dishes.
Kids of all ages can help cook at home. Whether young or old, there is something to be learned at any age. What other ways have you involved your child in cooking?