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Cooking with kids teaches them so many skills that will give them a better future. Jump in the kitchen with your kids and make some awesome memories with them. And it’s a great part of running a home daycare.
Kids eat healthier food if they help prepare them. Kids are 80% more likely to try a new food if they had a hand in making it. I have seen this work time and time again, I’m sold on it! The pickiest kids will try things you can’t imagine if they helped put it together. It doesn’t always work, but it helps a lot.
Cooking with kids is a key to how I turn McNugget only kids into adventurous and healthy eaters. We love to make recipes. You don’t have to actually cook anything either, just chopping, mixing, and those kinds of jobs do the trick just as well.
Cooking with Preschoolers Benefits
Cooking with kids develops language. Reading the recipe. Telling kids instructions. Kids asking questions and getting reassurance. It’s all communication and it builds their language skills. There are words in the recipe you’re reading to them. These words cause actions that make the recipe work.
Cooking with kids develops fine motor skills. Cracking an egg or filling a measuring cup full and leveling it off are hard. Cooking is a great way to improve skills, build muscles, and master skills. This will help with later writing and other tasks.
Stirring and lifting builds muscles too. Don’t forget there is a little gross motor skill building that goes on in cooking.
Cooking with kids teaches them science. Leavening from eggs, baking powder or baking soda is science. Salt bringing out the flavors in the recipe is science. Sweetening from sugar or sourness from vinegar or lemon juice is science. Mixing until the gluten starts working is science. There is so much science in cooking!
I love doing science with my kids and cooking is a great way to add in so many different types of it. I love teaching them how wheat that we grow can be ground into flour which has gluten that we can make into bread with yeast. There is so much to learn.
Cooking with kids gives them sensory experiences. When I was a kid, my grandma would let me taste things in her kitchen even if she knew they were gross. I remember one time I wanted to taste cocoa powder. Grandma knew it was gross and bitter.
She told me it was nasty even though it smelled good. I told her I wanted to see. She said, it’s really bad, but if you want to, we will do it together. We both took a little pinch and we giggled and giggled at how bitter and not like a candy bar it tasted. Cocoa needs sugar to have the flavor we’re used to tasting, even though it smells amazing.
Obviously, taste is a big sensory experience with cooking, but think about how slimy and egg is or the hardness of the shell. Think about the amazing aromas as you’re cooking. You can even hear mixing, frying, boiling, and other cooking techniques.
Food can be beautiful and colorful as well. There are so many colors and textures you can see. The inside of a kiwi is so interesting and gorgeous. Cooking stimulates all the senses. (Taste is the most fun of them all)
Cooking activities for children
Cooking with kids builds math skills. Kids have to count how many eggs, measure ingredients, and learn about volume when cooking. Can 2 cups of cake batter bake in a 2-cup pan? No. We need to leave room for it to rise.
Counting scoops of flour or sugar as they go into a recipe. How long is it supposed to mix? You can set a timer and watch the numbers go down.
Another math skill kids learn from cooking is fractions. How many pieces are in a pie or a pizza? How many in a square cake? When cutting fruit for a fruit salad, think of all the shapes and sizes. It’s all math!
Cooking with kids teaches them to focus. You have to concentrate on the recipe and instructions for the dish to turn out right. Something like cooking that is interesting and stimulates all your senses helps you focus your whole brain on the outcome.
You have to focus hard to crack an egg into a bowl instead of on the table. You have to focus to dump your cup of flour into the bowl.
Cooking with a group of kids also helps them learn cooperation and taking turns. Everyone knows they will get a turn if they are polite and wait. It’s a great way to teach them to support each other and wait for each other.
Cooking with kids teaches them confidence. I love how kids can go from being scared to crack an egg (I was so uptight with my daughter when cooking, she is still afraid) to being able to do it with ease as they learn they can control how it goes.
They make something they’re not familiar with and then taste how good it is, this teaches them they can make something good. Learning to keep the flour in the bowl when they are stirring is a great confidence booster as well.
It’s hilarious to watch the kids watch each other. When a younger child is learning, the older kids are so nervous about them making mistakes and messes. I just remind them that they were like that when they were little and they learned and this is how. Be patient and they will learn too.
Cooking with kids teaches them life skills. Cooking is super important for good health. Teaching kids this skill will give them a better future. Making yourself a veggie egg casserole is so much healthier than hitting the drive-through at Mickey D’s. If kids enjoy cooking and are good at it, they are more likely to cook healthy meals as adults.
Cooking with kids helps you bond with them. Remember the story about my grandma. I was probably 7 or 8 when that happened, so for over 40 years I’ve cherished cooking with her. Now that she’s gone, and I can’t learn to make biscuits from her, I cherish it even more. It bonded us together forever.
You can have fun and happy experiences cooking with kids that will give them good memories of cooking for a lifetime, but also of you. Making memories and making kids feel loved is what it’s all about. There is nothing better.
I hope you cook with your kids and learn to love cooking more even yourself. You can teach them some cooking skills as they grow and build relationships with them while you are building skills for them. I think you will love it.
Cooking activities for kids
We love to have cooking camps or cooking classes for kids in our preschool. In November each year we do a cooking camp and take pictures of the kids making the recipes. Then we make them into a cookbook and give that to our parents as a Christmas gift. They love it.
Some of the recipes we make are:
- spaghetti pie
- dandelion jelly
- lotsa pasta
- fruit kabobs
- fruit pizza
- ham and cheese pinwheels
- apple crisp
- pumpkin pie
- banana bread
Check out the cooking with kids section of the blog. For recipes kids can make, click here.