Besides the fact that it’s fun, there are many others reasons to get kids cooking at an early age. Cooking with children is one of the most valuable family activities because it makes them feel part of something bigger. Trusting them with important family tasks makes kids more responsible, and as a result they will behave accordingly. Cooking will engage all of their senses, smelling, touching, seeing, hearing and of course, tasting. Studies show that sensory experiences stimulate brain development. Moreover, it is a great opportunity to teach them how to eat healthy and fight childhood obesity. Here are 5 reasons that will encourage you to get kids cooking:
1. Mathematical concepts
Involving your children in the process of preparing a meal will introduce them to mathematical concepts within a meaningful context. Early learning is very important, especially when it comes to abstract concepts. Getting kids cooking will teach them about numbers, temperatures, measurement (1/2 cup is bigger than ¼ cup) and geometry (what is a 10 x 8 pan).
When your children cook, they realize that reading has tangible results that they can use in every activity. Moreover, it provides a natural way to learn new words, as you talk about the cooking process and the ingredients used. You child will discover the purpose of literacy – to provide information or instructions. Following the instructions of a recipe to prepare a meal is an important reading skill, because they get to see a finish result.
3. Food knowledge
Another reason to get kids cooking is that it provides a great opportunity to talk about the origins of food, nutrition and food production. They will learn that spaghetti sauce doesn’t come from a jar and pizza from the restaurant. Many children believe that bread is a raw ingredient. Making bread with them at home can be quite a learning experience. Furthermore, being involved in food preparation can stimulate a child to be more adventurous and try many new foods.
Food is an important part of a family’s culture and has a role in every day life and in special celebrations that bring everybody together. Repeating these traditions gives children a sense of belonging that follows them into adulthood. Moreover, if you get kids cooking, you will create a regular time to talk. As they grow, the pressures of peers, school and life will start to overwhelm them. Maintaining a tradition of cooking will allow your child to talk to you in a natural way and feel safe in a familiar situation.
5. Long lasting memories
Keeping the little ones close when you work in the kitchen will create some wonderful memories that can last a lifetime. From sharing a home-cooked meal with loved ones, to the sense of accomplishment after completing a small task, cooking with your children is worth every minute.