There are many benefits to cooking with kids, and many new things that they can learn from spending time with you in the kitchen as you prepare meals together.
A lot of children’s development comes from exposure to situations, experiences and activities in their environment that allows them to learn new skills and build on what they already know. Encouraging your children to assist in the kitchen through regular cooking allows for this development to come naturally.
Children pick up lots of new words and phrases through following recipes and general conversations around food in the kitchen. Assisting them to follow the steps in a recipe to get the result they expect, helps them develop broader language skills and understanding. Introducing them to new food names, words they may not be familiar with in preparing and cooking, along with having them read lists of ingredients on packets, all help them improve their language skills.
Food and cooking gives children an easy opening into conversations. They learn to be more social in situations involving food, i.e. lunchtime at school, birthday parties, family gatherings, and when they become better at conversations their self esteem improves and they can easily relate to more people. Being able to say “I cooked it myself” or “I helped to make it” makes them very proud of themselves and gives them a great sense of accomplishment.
Allowing your child to develop new skills when preparing and cooking food assists them in developing physically. Starting with the basics like holding wooden spoons to stir, moving all the way up the scale to chopping with sharp knives, improves children’s fine motor skills and sensory skills.
Kids who learn to cook are much more willing to try new foods and tastes. When they’re involved in making something that they’re not familiar with they are more likely to try to taste it and actually enjoy it.
When kids spend time in the kitchen with parents and siblings, they get an opportunity to share a lot more of their day together, they get quality time together where the focus is on having fun to make a meal, rather than conversations and togetherness being interrupted by background noise from TV’s, computers etc. Kids who regularly cook with parents look forward to that part of their day from when they get up in the morning.
Interpreting and converting recipe quantities and metrics is a great way to engage children in useful & practical math outside of the classroom.
Being able to manage to make their own meals is a skill that many of the young people of today are unable to do, and this results in them buying processed, ready-made meals to feed themselves, and their families, later in life.
Knowing the basics of cooking and being able to build on that would result in more people being better educated when it comes to their food choices. The younger that food knowledge and education starts the better chance that it will become a normal part of life.
Please share your stories with our readers about what your kids have learned from cooking with you.