Because learning comes through teaching moments. For you to have a teaching moment, you need to have a moment with your child! My kitchen is the nerve center of my home. All good (and sometimes bad) news happens in the kitchen. While cooking with my daughter, I learned about her first kiss. My son stirred Mongolian beef while telling me how mad he was at his best friend. There are other reasons to cook with your child:
- Creates teachable moments. Time is created in the kitchen to share experiences. Talk about stories and
what is happening in life. It also is a great time to teach some basic skills to your child.
- Opens lines of communication. My children have watched me try some of the most strange recipes. At one point, we decided to try every recipe in a cookie book. It was amazing to learn together — and laugh together at some of our most hideous failures. They also learned that there would be time in the kitchen to talk about anything.
- Builds confidence in your child and pride. Children learn to do things on their own. They also take great pride in creating an end project.
- Develop relationships and social skills. I didn’t realize how closely our children were watching us until one day our youngest comment on how Kerry and I cook together in time. As he needed an herb, I had placed it on the counter beside him without recognizing it. When he walked by me, he ran his hand over the small of my back. When the meal was completed, the entire family worked together to clean the kitchen.
- Learn eye hand coordination. Let your child do age-appropriate activities in the kitchen. Stirring. Chopping. Measuring.
- Learn basic survival skills. I didn’t recognize the importance of the cooking my oldest learned while working with me in the kitchen until she went to college. She was shocked at how many of her classmates couldn’t do the basics -like Top Ramen in a microwave!
- Reinforces math skills. “I wonder how many cups of flour I would need if I were to double this recipe?” Simple questions such as these bring an awareness and importance of math in everyday life. For awhile, I would switch out the measuring cups in the flour and sugar containers from 1 cup to 1/3 or 2/3 cups. I would then ask how many 2/3 cups would I need to make 2 cups of flour. When they started fractions in school, the concepts came easier because they were already familiar with it.
- Increases reading skills. There is an entirely different vocabulary in the kitchen. Saute. Marinate. Chop. Mix. Encourage your child to learn these new words and try them out!
What teaching moments have you found in your kitchen?