Cooking with your child helps their development in so many ways, not only does it prepare them for later life but it helps build their confidence, their academic skills; maths, literacy, science plus you get something really yummy at the end!
Fine Motor Skills, Co-ordination & Sensory Development
Letting your toddler mix, stir and sprinkle the sprinkles on the cakes, even putting the icing on and having a go at stamping out the cookies all helps to develop their fine motor skills and co-ordination without them even realising it! Make it fun and let them choose what they want to do, let them mix with their hands and have a little taste to get their senses going! As they get older encourage them to explore new tastes, ask them what they think it tastes like, do they like it? where does it come from? what other things you could make with it?
Language & Literacy
Following a recipe whether it’s them reading it or just following instructions from you, learning what to put in next and that there is a certain order to making something. Learning new words and what they mean, for example creaming, what does it mean when a recipe says this. These are all important skills for your child to learn.
This is a practical way for your younger children to learn their numbers, increase confidence in counting and working out if they need more or less of an ingredient. As they get older learning their measurements, what does 100g flour look like compared to 100g chocolate chips? Why do the quantities look different? These are all great conversations to have with your kids while you are cooking with them.
How does it all come together? What happens when we put these ingredients together? Why do our cakes rise? Cooking is basically one yummy science experiment, what is not to like!
Life skills learning all of the above are so important to help your child develop and not only are they learning about science, language, literacy and developing their math skills. They are learning how to make food from raw ingredients. It’s always good to chat about nutrition and why it is so important for a healthy body. That it is fine to eat yummy things like cakes & biscuits as long as we are having enough fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, pulses etc. Speaking to your child and getting them involved with different types of cooking is so important. Start off by making something they enjoy and then you can move on to other things once you have their interest. Encouraging them to help make their lunch is a great start, give them a choice of sandwich fillings. Letting them help you prepare their fruit or veg sticks with their lunch and maybe even turning it into a mini picnic!
Encouraging independence and helping your child with things they are unable to do is so important to their mental health, giving them the praise after making a cake or making a sandwich is so important, even if it goes wrong, it doesn’t matter give them the encouragement that they need to carry on, it will increase their confidence in so many ways. As they get older if they feel upset because something went wrong with a bake, let them know that it is ok and we all do things wrong that is how we learn and improve, ask them to identify what do they think happened, what would they do differently? A great way to teach problem solving. They will also be really happy that they have had time with you and something they will remember, a great bonding activity to do with your child.
For our Top Tips for Stress Free Baking with your children and to download our FREE Fun Baking for Kids Recipe e-book head over to our blog here: Top Tips for Cooking with your Kids, plus grab your FREE copy of Fun Baking for Kids Recipe E-book – Three Bears Cookery Club