Kids in the kitchen - it is going to get messy!
Picture the scene… kids in the kitchen, a Mum eager to be the best ever and a three year old motivated by melted chocolate.
What could be more perfect? Well ignoring the chocolate smeared cupboards, sugar induced behaviours and questionable looking cakes!
Letting your kids cook with you, whether you are baking a sugar laden chocolate treat or something a little healthier, is a great way of spending quality time with them.
Cooking with your child is an engaging activity that provides many opportunities for developing communication and language skills. As you cook together you can:
- Introduce kids to new vocabulary e.g. names of utensils, foods, tastes and textures
- Help kids to develop instruction following and comprehension skills: Recipes are a set of sequenced instructions. Depending on your child's ability, these might be a set of sequenced pictures or a number of short, clear sentences. Look at the recipe together before you begin, encourage your child to collect the ingredients and utensils you need, then follow the recipe together as you cook.
- Encourage kids to understand and use sequencing vocabulary. Ask questions that relate to sequencing e.g. What is first? What is next?
(Top tip: Give your child at least 10 seconds to answer a question. You need to allow them time to process what you are asking and then to formulate an answer to your question.)
Cooking with your child also provides opportunities for developing mathematic skills. It is a perfect activity for providing hands-on experience of the concept of measuring; weight, volume and time.
Science skills are developed as kids look at, touch, smell and taste ingredients. They see first-hand changes in materials (ingredients) and, or, the results of chemical reactions as e.g. water boils, chocolate melts and cools again, dough rises.
And, if you need anymore reasons to get your kids cooking with you in the kitchen, cooking is a great activity for developing social and life skills. I for one am a parent who definitely wants my kids to learn how to prepare healthy meals...and how to wash up!
But most of all, cooking with your kids in the kitchen is simply hands on fun.
And though the food produced might not turn out quite as expected, chances are it will probably taste good anyway!
And if not, then maybe there is an opportunity for developing problem-solving skills... ask questions e.g. What could we do differently if we make this again? What ingredients could we change? Why do we think that this happened?"