Benefits of Children Cooking
Do you allow your two-year-old to assist with cooking? If you say “no” … well, you are not alone. I went on a little fact-finding mission recently. Many parents these days said they really don’t cook a whole lot. There is a lot of frozen food going in the microwave and oven. Of the parents that did cook, their response to my question was, “NO!”, “Not happening, I don’t have time to clean up that mess!”, “Nah, she’s just not big enough yet.”, “He’s not really interested.”, “I prefer to be alone in the kitchen, fewer distractions.”, and “I always intend to bring her in to help, but we are always just in such a hurry.” To all the naysayers in the crowd, I have this to say… do you know what the benefits of children cooking are?
Cooking at Kidz World
At Kidz World, we do a lot of cooking with the children. Cooking is very educational and brings in many areas of focus such as fine motor work, comprehension, social skills, math, science, literacy, and so much more! The benefits far outweigh the potential lurking messes that might need to be cleaned up. But, don’t take my word for it, take the word of a woman who has far more courage and determination than myself.
Ms. Tish is the lead teacher in the two-year-old room at Kidz World. She has a class of 20 children every day. In case you didn’t catch that… that’s 20 two-year-old children! Did your eyes suddenly get big and WOW blurt out? If that didn’t take your breath, then let me tell you this… she cooks with them all the time!
Ms. Tish has the ingredients all organized, she sets up one table in the room and takes every sanitary precaution, she invites eight children to the table, they sit quietly as she explains what to do, she puts their wax paper down, hands them a biscuit to flatten out, the children push and pound until flat, then they are given a choice – peaches or cherries, they spoon on the filling, then roll the pastry, their name is written on the wax paper, and its put on a tray for cooking. The table is rotated out until all children have participated. Once all the turnovers are ready, they are taken to the kitchen and cooked during nap time. After awakening from a refreshing nap, the two-year-old’s are so happy to eat the warm gooey snacks that they prepared themselves.
Watch the Benefits of Children Cooking video on our YouTube page.
I sat in amazement as the room ran like clockwork. Ms. Tish handled all of the cooking while Ms. Selena took care of the hand-washing, diaper changing, and keeping an eye on all the other children playing quietly in the centers. There was no fighting. There were no messes created. It was a great learning experience for everyone.
I asked Ms. Tish why she loved to cook with the children she replied, “Because it’s fun, they love it, and it teaches them so much”. She said cleaning up the mess was nothing to her, “it’s just a part of the fun and I clean all day anyway”. I asked Ms. Selena what she thought about it and she said, “It’s fun, the kids have a great time and I love seeing them happy”. What do the children think about it? Silas said, “I love it. I like to cook oranges”. McKenna loves to cook as well, and she said, “Pancakes are my favorite”. Narvell said, “cooking is fun”. When I asked Lucy, she was so focused on her cooking that all she could do was nod her head yes, yes, yes. Grayson answered my question with a tummy rub and one word… “yummy”.
Benefits of Children Cooking
Other than the obvious fun to be had, what are other benefits of children cooking?
- Math Skills: Measuring is an excellent beginners tool. As the child ages, they can work on doubling a recipe requires (addition or multiplication), halving it (division), and fractions like 1/2 cup and 3/4 teaspoon further expand the math applications.
- Comprehension/literacy: Identifying the ingredients, reading, and understanding step-by-step directions, adding ingredients in sequence, and techniques such as folding and blending, are all important components to yielding the finished product.
- Science: Cooking is the ultimate science experiment. Too much salt, baking powder, not enough flour, or the wrong timing and you’re likely to have a flop on your hands but, precise measurements of the proper ingredients will leave you satisfied with a full stomach.
- Self-Esteem/confidence: Cooking allows kids to get instant feedback, which helps them learn and grow in self-knowledge. It’s a feeling of accomplishment and pride, completing something yourself.
- Communication: A relaxed atmosphere in the kitchen offers an opportunity to talk. Get to know your children. What’s their favorite food, color, best friend? It’s a great time to show them you are interested in them.
- Life Skills: Cooking is a life skill and one that is required to become independent in life. Learning how to feed yourself/cooking is of great importance.
- Appreciation for food: Teaching a child to cook provides a great opportunity for them to expand their food options. They can try things while cooking. Maybe they don’t like cooked broccoli, but boy do they tear it up raw. This is a good idea for children who experience texture issues while they eat. Let them try the different food items while you cook together.
Cooking sites for children
Author: Belinda Davis ©2018