Guest blogger Kris Corrigan, Early Childhood Specialist and ERS Assessor, invites us to revisit the idea of cooking with children!
As many early childhood educators, I have idea books that I revisit from time to time. Over the weekend, I looked at one called Book Cooks. It has picture recipes that can be used as a follow-up to reading a picture book. This got me thinking about the many cooking activities I did with young children over the years, and how much the children looked forward to cooking with the teacher. Cooking gives children the opportunity to do a “grown-up” activity which gives them great satisfaction and builds confidence.
As an ERS assessor, I see many wonderful teachers who provide children with interesting activity choices, but I very seldom see cooking activities being done with children. In fact, in my three years as an assessor, I have observed a cooking activity only once.
Is safety a concern?
Some teachers may avoid cooking activities because of safety concerns. Teaching safety rules and providing good supervision should certainly be a part of every cooking activity, allowing you to proceed with confidence. There are also many ways children can help without putting them at risk. Even young preschoolers can help you wash fruits and vegetables.
Not enough time?
Time can be a concern for other teachers. But learning time isn’t wasted when doing cooking activities. Here are just a few skills children learn through cooking activities:
- Math concepts when they measure different ingredients
- New vocabulary associated with cooking and unfamiliar foods
- Literacy and logical thinking skills when following the steps in a picture/word recipe
A great opportunity to teach them about nutrition
Cooking with children gives you the opportunity to talk with them about healthy foods, too. They are more likely to try new, healthy foods that they have had a hand in preparing.
Here are some resources to get you start or reignite your interest:
- How to Include Children in the Kitchen (a video from Spend Smart Eat Smart)
- Cooking with Preschool Children
- Preschool Cooking Lesson Plan
How do you involved children in the kitchen? What are some of your favorite kid-tested recipes?