The activities carried out in the kitchen are productive, essential to life, and intriguing. All of these things come together to make cooking the perfect activity for engaging and teaching a young person. Whether you are exploring new math concepts, talking about nutrition, or working on motor skills there is a way to apply your lesson in the kitchen. Below are some of our favorite ways of incorporating schooling in the kitchen.
Use measurements to teach fractions. Compare ½ a cup and a whole cup. Discuss how many halves make a whole, how many ⅓ cups of water you can make from a whole cup, and so forth. Hands on work with fractions in real world situations will help students think about fractions in a more concrete way and help them see the importance of learning about fractions.
Give preschool age children the job of counting a specific ingredient. Counting out blueberries to add to the fruit salad for example will help young students feel productive and give them reason to work on their counting skills. As children get older you can expand on this activity by asking such questions as ” If we add 15 blueberries to the 10 strawberries, how many berries do we have?”
Sorting is a great pre-math skill and a fun way toddlers can “help” in the kitchen.
Older children can benefit from helping to create a grocery list and budget. This is an amazing way to teach children the value of the dollar and begin to instill good budgeting skills into their every day lives.
By having your child read a recipe as you cook together, you are showing them the importance of reading in life, and getting in some amazing reading practice while spending quality time together.
The youngest chefs can practice making letters by creating them out of cookie dough. This is a great activity for kids who are ready to learn letters, but not quite ready for writing.
Discuss good food choices and the way our eating habits affect our bodies. Read nutrition labels together, and discuss food groups as well as food safety. These discussions are great to have on a regular basis with children of all ages.
Experiment with ingredients by slightly changing the way you make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. For instance, you could add baking powder instead of baking soda or add melted butter instead of softened butter. There are several variations on the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe here.
Explore the five senses in the kitchen. Discuss the different ways of experiencing food. Blindfold you kids and give them several foods to identify by only taste, smell, or touch. Think of some foods you can hear.
Talk about the five states of matter — solids, liquids, and gasses. Create your own version of each using water. Discuss what caused the water to change it’s state each time.
Eat around the world. Make a game of finding a recipe to try from a different country each week. While you are enjoying your meal or snack, read a bit about it’s country of origin and find the location of the country on a map. Food is an excellent way to get a taste — pun intended — of another culture.
These are just a few of the amazing ways you can turn your kitchen into a fun, hands on learning environment. As an added bonus, when you bring your kids into the kitchen for school you will be giving them quality time and important life skills. Both are invaluable gifts to give your child and equally as important as math, reading, or science.
If you are homeschooling your little ones and would like to be involved in a community of open minded, welcoming, homeschooling parents, please contact us at The Loop. We would be thrilled to have you join in one — or many — of our parent hosted activities and educational classes.