BENEFITS OF COOKING WITH KIDS
COOKING WITH YOUR KIDS BOOTS 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. Each time you let your child help you prepare a meal, you are also preparing them for success in school and in life. Cooking with your kids offers a wide variety of opportunities to learn and grow.
It may take a little flexibility and some simple prep work, but with the right expectations, your time in the kitchen with your children can be a culinary adventure you'll both enjoy.
Tip: don't plan an elaborate project — 5 to 10 minutes might be all the time that your child wants to spend on an activity. Start small and keep it fun.
For safety reasons, you should be in the kitchen with them at all times, supervising and monitoring progress.
Spending time in the kitchen with your kids can foster an interest in food and cooking that will last for life.
INCREASES LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
As you cook, you are labeling ingredients which increases a child’s vocabulary. Kids also have to follow directions, which enhances receptive language skills. While cooking, explain each step and have your child describe what they are doing for even greater language development. For more advanced learning, have them predict what will happen next or guess what the next ingredient would be.
INCREASES MATHS ABILITY
Cooking involves a great deal of measurement. Kids will learn various measurements such as cups, teaspoons and tablespoons. When talking numbers hold up fingers, have them count the eggs and measure with cups and spoons. They will also understand fractions as well as utilise addition and subtraction skills. You can ask what comes first, second, and third or count together as you spoon cupcake mixture into the cake tin.
IMPROVES READING SKILLS
When cooking with your children, have them read the recipes this helps enhance reading comprehension.
For the younger kiddies, read the recipe aloud and talk about what you are doing.
INTRODUCES KIDS TO SCIENTIFIC SKILLS
Cooking involves a great deal of science. Kids learn what happens when certain ingredients are mixed together as well as what happens when the measurements are incorrect.
ENHANCES FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Opening packets, mixing the ingredients, measuring and pouring 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 YOUNG KIDS EXPLORE WITH THEIR SENSES
Kids learn by exploring with their senses and the kitchen is an ideal place to do that. Invite them to listen to the whir of the mixer, pound/ touch dough and watch it rise, smell it baking in the oven, and finally taste the warm bread fresh from the oven. If it smells good, looks appealing, and is easy to eat they may just be willing to try it.
ENCOURAGE AN ADVENTOUROUS PALATE
Young children are notoriously picky eaters, bringing them into the kitchen to cook can help them to open up to new tastes. When your 3-year-old plays chef they might sample ingredient and dishes they wouldn't try ordinarily. Encourage kids to taste new ingredients you're working with and talk about what they like and how healthy foods make a body grow.
INCREASES FOCUS AND ATTENTION
When cooking, kids need to stay focused and pay attention to each detail or the recipe will not be completed correctly. Kids learn quickly that they have to pay attention if they want to lick the spoon and eat the cake at the end.
TEACHES SELF CONFIDENCE AND LIFE SKILLS
Cooking is a skill that is needed to be an independent adult. Kids can learn early on how to make their own sandwich, pour milk or create a snack. Older kids can learn to cook meals for themselves and the family. This will allow them to be more independent and offer a sense of pride and responsibility as an individual, even if the end result is not exactly what you expect, praise them for their effort. Cooking also teaches kids various safety lessons such as not to touch a hot stove or how to use a knife correctly. The more you cook with your child, the more independent they become.
ENCOURAGES FAMILY BONDING
Cooking is a task that the entire family can enjoy. Make it a routine to cook Sunday dinner together each week, have a baking day or turn Friday night into make your own pizza night. Cooking together as a family brings everyone together and creates a bonding experience.
Next time you are making dinner or need to make cupcakes for a class party, let the kids help. Remember to embrace the mess, the sticky fingers and faces and don’t sweat the small stuff!
See our favourite banana bread recipe below. I’ve taken beautiful recipe and made it my own, a recipe that works for me and my little family. By cutting down on refined sugars and flour and adding healthy options such as chia seeds, coconut and whole meal flour and spoonful’s of glorious golden honey (replaces golden syrup) this recipe becomes a delicious game changer and is awesome for cooking with kids!
BASIC BANANA BREAD
125g unsalted butter (can substitute with dairy free option such as Nuttelex)
¼ cup of raw sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 cups of mashed banana (I suggest using frozen banana, it adds extra flavour and moisture to the bread)
1½cups whole meal flour
¼ cup coconut or spelt flour
1teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon bicarbonate (baking) of soda
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (or as much as your little one puts in)
1 pinch of nutmeg
4 tablespoons raw honey
3 tablespoons chia seeds
Step 1. Preheat oven to 160C (325F). Place butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer and beat for 3-5 minutes or until pale and creamy.
Step 2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add eggs and beat well to combine.
Step 3. Add banana, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey and chia seeds and stir to combine.
Step 4. Spoon the mixture into a 26cm x 11cm lightly greased loaf tin lined with baking paper. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Slice and serve with butter and a light drizzle of honey if desired.
For all the delicious honey you need for this and other great honey recipes visit