Cooking for yourself is a life skill, but is it something that your child should learn from a young age? The resounding answer is YES because it is not just something fun to do, it has lots of other great benefits for your child. Plus of course, children who love to cook grow up to be adults who love cook!
Develops Motor Skills
The chopping, mixing, squeezing, sprinkling, rolling, mashing, grating and spreading all help to develop essential motor skills and hand-eye coordination in children. You may think that at two or three years old, toddlers are too young to be chopping but learning how to handle an item like a knife and use it as a supervised skill, helps to improve and develop many other areas where hand-eye coordination is required, such as drawing and writing. I wouldn’t suggest however having too sharp a knife!
Cooking encourages your child’s thinking and problem-solving skills. It also allows children the opportunity to use the knowledge they have and apply it by counting, measuring, following a sequence, following directions, and cause and effect.
Cooking together is a great time to try new or unusual foods while preparing. This broadens your child’s palette and food that they may not have tried or liked in the past can suddenly become accepted and even enjoyed in this new environment. Plus, children who cook are more likely to taste and try the finished product (source: NY Times)
Sense of Accomplishment
By following the recipe steps and making something from scratch your child will feel a great sense of accomplishment, especially because they are making a tangible item that can be enjoyed by others. They have something to show!
Cooking can bring out creativity in a child in numerous ways; from arranging the food made on a plate, choosing the ingredients in the recipe, (i.e. the flavour of cupcakes), decorating the cupcakes or deciding on the shape of the biscuits.
Use cooking as an opportunity to reinforce good hygiene practices, such as hand washing. Teaching in a real-life situation helps your child understand the “why” behind it.
All recipes require ingredients to be weighed or measured, in either grams/ounces or cups. Even simple maths such as 1 cup or ½ a cup helps children understand how maths is used in everyday life and therefore its importance.
Cooking is basically science and if you don’t allow time for processes, like baking in the oven you end up with a mess rather than a cake! In this instant gratification world we live in, having to wait for something is an important skill to learn.
Education on where food comes from
As you handle each ingredient you can use it as an opportunity to chat to your child about where that food comes from. Additionally, the child usually gets to see the food in its raw form.
Spending time together doing an activity is a great way to bond with your child and cooking is perfect for this.
One thing that parents are always looking to do is get children off devices; cooking is a rewarding and fun way to do this.
Cooking is a good way to talk about healthy foods and install healthy habits at a young age.
Hands-on cooking activities help children develop confidence and skill. Following recipes encourages children to be self-directed and independent. It also teaches them to follow directions and develop problem-solving skills.
Cooking offers the opportunity to stimulate language development by linking it to all other areas, including mathematics, science, social studies, arts, and literacy. This is done by encouraging children to talk about what they are doing, counting, and watching materials change colour, texture, and medium. (source: SCOE)
There are so many reasons to teach your child to cook, even if it is just pasta! Get them involved from a young age and soon they will be making you breakfast in bed!
Written By: Lara Solomon from Story Antics
Story Antics was founded in October 2019 by author Lara Solomon with the vision to create unique and entertaining educational stories for both children and adults to enjoy together.
Delighting young readers around the world with its personalised storybook offering, Story Antics' gives budding book enthusiasts the opportunity to be the hero in a handful of quirky tales, all brought to life through captivating illustrations.
Tagged in children