Cooking Helps Children Learn Education Basics
Math, science and reading skills are enhanced when children learn and practice how to weigh, measure, multiply, divide and follow recipe directions. Cooking is science, involving mixing acids and bases to create a chemical reaction, as in making pancakes or muffins.
More Benefits in the Kitchen
Cooking together provides quality time to chat about all kinds of topics. To ensure an enjoyable experience parents need to relax and overlook spills–so don’t expect perfection, but instead value the process of preparing food more than the end product. Creating something yummy that can be shared with others also helps children develop confidence and self-esteem. And cooking family recipes is a great opportunity to talk about traditions and culture.
Food preparation skills learned now (like washing your hands) will serve children well into adulthood and can be passed down to their children. The act of cooking provides a natural opportunity to discuss nutrition topics such as portion sizes, vitamins and other nutrients in foods, too.
Easy to Cook Ideas
- Vegetable soup
- Grilled cheese sandwich
- Baked meatball
- French toast
- Scrambled egg
No-Cook Food Ideas
- Sandwich, wrap, or roll-up
- Fruit kabob or fruit salad
- Trail/snack mix
- Yogurt and fruit parfait
- Fruit smoothie
Parents Set the Tone
Children usually enjoy cooking and helping in the kitchen, as long as adults relax and let children get a little messy.
Don’t expect perfection. Who said pancakes or meatballs have to be round?
Give children clear instructions, show them how it is done and let them practice by doing. While keeping safety in mind, let children complete age appropriate jobs.
- Visit Kansas State University Extension’s Kids a Cookin webpage for ideas on cooking with your children.
- Planning a kids’ party anytime soon? Check out these fun suggestions from CSU Extension for preparing foods with a group of kids! 10 Healthy Food Activities for Children’s Parties
Cooking with children is a great activity to develop relationships, build child self-confidence, learn math skills and more!