Cooking with kids - loads of benefits.

Cooking with kids.

Cooking with kids – from toddlers to teenagers – has a lot of benefits. As well as being fun, cooking with your child can boost their development. Stir the pancake mix, measure one cup of water, roll out the dough…all of these cooking tasks help kids develop necessary academic, cognitive and motor skills to prepare them for success in school and life. Cooking with your kids offers a wide variety of opportunities to learn and grow!

As a child, you probably helped your mum or dad make meatballs or stir the mixture to make cookies. What you probably didn’t know was that you were developing valuable life skills. The many benefits of cooking with children include:

Increases Language Development through listening and following instructions for the steps of each recipe.

Enhances Fine Motor Skills - mixing the ingredients, rolling the dough and using

cookie cutters are all great ways to enhance a child’s fine motor strength and control.

These are skills needed to develop academic skills such as writing, cutting and colouring.

Help improve these skills even more by allowing them to slowly pour ingredients into

a bowl or quickly mix ingredients together. For older children, let them help flip the pancakes.

Increases Math Ability – through learning measurements such as cups, weight, teaspoons and tablespoons.

They will also understand fractions as well as utilise addition and subtraction skills.

Improves Reading Skills have children help you read recipes. Starting with numbers with the younger children, such as 2 cups of flour and 4 teaspoons of sugar. For older kids, have them read each step then follow the directions. This also helps enhance reading comprehension.

Introduces Scientific Concepts children will learn what happens when certain ingredients are mixed together as well as what happens when the measurements are incorrect.

Increases Focus and Attention - children need to stay focused and pay attention to each detail or the recipe will not be completed correctly. This also teaches planning and the importance of following each step.

Teaches Life Skills cooking is an important life skill for all people. Children can learn early on how to prepare their own cereal and pour their own drinks. Older kids can learn to cook meals for themselves and the family. This will allow them to be more independent and responsible individuals. Cooking also teaches kids various safety lessons such as not to touch a hot stove or how to use a knife correctly.

Promotes Healthy Eating by allowing children

to cook helps them learn what foods are healthy and

what are not.

It allows them to try new food that they may not

have tried otherwise.

It encourages them to eat at home instead of out which can often provide

unhealthy options. It allows for parents to introduce fresh, healthy foods to their children.

They can learn about how different foods look and where they come from.

They are more likely to try healthy food that they have helped to cook.

Boosts Self-Confidence - when a child is able to successfully complete a recipe and make a meal, they feel a sense of pride and confidence.

Encourages Family Bonding - cooking is a task that the entire family can enjoy! Make it a routine to cook Sunday dinner together each week or turn Friday night into make your own pizza night. They can also learn about family traditions, recipes and foods which they can cook in later years.

10 Kitchen Activities to complete with your children

Kitchen Fun Here are some functional everyday activities you can start building into your daily routines. These will help facilitate your child’s independence in the long term also.

Remember the easier the tasks are to set up, the easier it is for you and your children to complete. In addition, the more repetitive the daily practice, the greater the benefits of learning the skill.

Here are 10 super simple activities that children can practice daily when helping out in the kitchen at home. These helpful kitchen activities for kids also provide bilateral coordination practice (using both sides of the body at the same time).

· Spread butter, vegemite or jam on bread: one hand holds the knife and one hand holds the bread.

· Pouring a drink – one hand holds the jug and the other hand stabilises the cup.

· Mixing and stirring – hold the bowl with one hand and use the other hand to stir with a spoon.

· Open and close jars/containers – hold the container with one hand and open the lid with the other hand.

· Roll out dough – hold a rolling pin with both hands and roll out pizza, cookie or pie dough.

· Gather ingredients on the counter to help have everything ready.

· Wash fruit and vegetables – use both hands to gently clean the food.

· Pack up lunch or leftovers – using both hands wrap up the food.

· Set the table – carry the plates, silverware and cups to the table.

· Clean up - Wash any sticky or messy areas of the countertop. Wring out cloth when wet.

· Safety - You’ll still need to supervise and help your child with any tasks that involve the sharp knives and other utensils, the oven, stove and hot liquids.

Some safety ground rules that are appropriate for your child’s skills and understanding will help to make your kitchen safe.

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