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Shrove Tuesday (otherwise known as ‘Pancake Day’) fast approaches – what better time to get into the kitchen with your children? Indeed, cooking has been a popular pastime throughout the pandemic: from baking banana bread to starting sourdough, it’s an activity that brings families together and one that guarantees fun (even if we’re stuck indoors!).
But did you know that there are many educational benefits to cooking with children? From developing motor skills to building confidence, time spent in the kitchen is, well, time well spent! Here’s why you might want to consider putting away your ruler and picking up a spatula this weekend.
A kitchen is so much more than a place where food is made. For children, it’s a treasure trove of learning that engages all their senses – a place where they can learn without even being aware of it. Cooking and baking nurtures and improves:
When cooking with children, there are a few key things to bear in mind – and lessons to impart – to ensure the activity is both enjoyable and successful.
Safety in the kitchen. Before delving into the more exciting elements of cooking, it’s crucial to first teach your children some key safety lessons. Show them how to use kitchen tools safely (perhaps utilising special ‘kid-friendly’ knives, etc.), how to turn appliances on and off, and when/how to use oven gloves. Be sure to always supervise, no matter how confident your child may be: even if they know how to handle a hot pan, their motor skills or strength might not be as advanced as their understanding, so it’s best to keep a close eye on them – whatever stage they’re at.
Talk about it! The best way to get children fully involved in meal preparation (and even clear-up duty) is to ask for their input. Discuss what you’re going to be making or eating, what recipes to try, and even what ingredients to buy. Ask questions. Find out what they like or don’t like, or what they think complements the flavour of the dish. Explore their palettes and talk about some of your favourite foods, too, to encourage them to try new things. Model good behaviours – try new foods, even if you don’t feel all that enthused about the idea! Let them choose what dinnerware to use and put them in charge of setting the table. Even small tweaks can turn the most hesitant of eaters into a confident young chef with an adventurous appetite and many important life skills!
Find out how Mentor can help you support you and your child as you approach the 7+. Get in touch today.