Need some summer activities to keep the kids engaged? Herd them into the kitchen for a culinary adventure. Cooking with kids is not only fun, it’s also educational. While children are busy creating culinary magic, they’re reaping dozens of benefits. From sharpening academic and organizational skills to promoting social and emotional development, the payback from a little kitchen activity is powerful:
- Boosts self-esteem and confidence. Children feel good about themselves and experience the pride of ownership after completing a successful cooking project.
- Puts math, science, reading and writing into action. When kids count and measure ingredients, see ingredients transform as they cook, jot down items on a grocery list and read through a recipe, they’re putting these basic academic tools to use.
- Sharpens fine motor skills. A little bit of mixing and measuring goes a long way in developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
- Fosters organizational skills and logical thinking. When children gather ingredients, follow recipe steps and figure out timing, they’re learning how to follow directions and organize.
- Gives them life skills. Teaching children how to shop, cook and practice food safety fosters self-sufficiency and develops valuable skills they’ll use for a lifetime.
- Promotes good eating habits. Children almost always eat what they make themselves. When they become invested in what they eat by planning and preparing nutritious meals and snacks, they’re more likely to improve their eating habits.
- Exposes them to new cultures and family history. Little cooks’ eyes open to other cultures when they experiment with ethnic foods, and learning to cook treasured family recipes passes down family traditions.
- Cultivates imagination, curiosity and creativity. Kids are exposed to new ideas, concepts, foods and vocabulary when they explore the culinary world.
- Provides great quality time and bonding opportunities. Making something delicious in the nurturing environment of your kitchen will bring you and your child together in a special way.
By Joan Cirillo