Lessons Learned Through Cooking

IMG_3171Congratulations Emily! Recently we celebrated my daughter Emily’s high school graduation. Her party had a Doctor Who theme, thus the graduate Dalek cake you see here. Emily learned her cake decorating skills in an 8-week cake decorating class taught at a local co-op. It was a HUGELY popular class, as you can imagine.

Lessons Learned Through Cooking
There are so many lessons your kids can learn through cooking! This is also a great way to continue learning in the summer without opening a book (well, maybe a cookbook!).

Kitchen safety is your number one lesson. What are the rules of kitchen safety? What are your kitchen rules? What are your children allowed to do on their own?

Shopping and budgeting. Have your children shop with you to purchase needed supplies. Teach them how to choose the best buy for the items they need and to purchase within a budget.

Simple math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are a given in cooking.

Fractions can be learned through the use of measuring cups and spoons. Pizzas, pies, brownies, and other foods which can be cut into parts, can also be used to understand fractions. How do you double or halve a recipe?

Learn volume and weight. How many ounces are in a pound? How many cups in a quart? Experiment with estimating.

Understanding how to read and follow a recipe is a great way to increase reading comprehension.

Don’t forget organization and timing, both important skills, and cooperation!

History. What did the pilgrims eat? What foods did they have available to them? What are some foods from the middle ages? Food can be used to study ANY time period.

Geography. Where did pizza originate? What is a typical breakfast in Europe? India? Africa?

Wow! The Science!! What are the chemical reactions involved in cooking? Why do you bake some foods at 350 degrees and others at 450 degrees? What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda and what do they both do? You may be thinking, “I don’t even know the answer to those questions!” There are SO many resources for understanding the science behind cooking. Here are a few.

Website: The Accidental Scientist: The Science of Cooking

YouTube Videos: Good Eats with Alton Brown
Our family LOVES Alton Brown. His Good Eats shows are wonderful at teaching the science behind cooking.

Cooking with childrenAmazon link: Cooking Book : Fostering Young Children’s Learning and Delight

Here is a book that invites teachers to the table–even those of us who don’t see ourselves as cooks–to create tasty, wholesome projects with children. As they prepare food, children learn social competence; science, math, and literacy skills; and the joy of creativity. In this book are scores of kid-tested recipes. The first part, Food for Thought, presents five chapters: (1) Getting Started; (2) Setting Up to Cook; (3) Putting Safety and Health First; (4) What’s Cooking with Families?; and (5) Learning to Cook = Cooking to Learn. Part Two, Let’s Get Cookin’, includes: (1) Introduction: Using Recipes with Young Children; (2) Recipes-for-One; (3) Small Group Recipes; (4) Art and Science Recipes; and (5) Recipe Index. Appended are: (1) Recommended Daily Food Choices for Young Children; and (2) Five Weeks of Nutritious Morning and Afternoon Snacks. Lists of references; children’s literature resources; and cookbooks related to children’s stories are also included.

The possibilities of learning with cooking are endless AND it allows you to spend time with your children in a fun and hands-on way.

Bon appétit!

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