I love food, my kids love food, my husband loves food, and we all really love trying new things and making meals together.
Little do my kiddos know that every time they don their aprons in the kitchen with me, they’re secretly working on their reading, math, science, and so many more important skills while they’re looking at recipes, measuring ingredients, and watching their creation come to life. It’s fun for them, and it’s fun for me.
If parents and teachers can handle a little bit more of a mess and prescribe themselves a extra dose of patience (some can, and some cannot–I totally get that!), toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children–kids of all ages–can all benefit by helping in the kitchen.
Kids don’t even realize they’re learning when they’re cooking. They just think they’re having fun with food!
Here are a few of the ways we have fun with food over here (and sneak in a little bit of learning in the kitchen!):
- Counting & Sorting: When little ones are interested in something, we’ve got to use it to our teaching advantage, whether it’s sports or crafts or cooking. My youngest always wants to help me prepare dinner, so that’s when I sneak in some counting, sorting, and color-learning!
My tiny Cora loves helping prepare food in the kitchen,
whether it’s cutting or counting or learning about parts of a whole.
- Conducting Experiments: Science in the kitchen? Absolutely!
Kids can learn so much with a little guidance and some direction. . . and with leftover candy, there’s no telling what they can do!
Ice-cream in a bag? Yes–Ziplock Ice-cream was SO much fun!!
They can conduct experiments on Halloween candy. . .
- Reading: We have followed dozens of recipes that I’ve modified or made more kid-friendly. With larger print, pictures, and clearly defined steps, kids can really work their early literacy skills while having fun with food!
Cookie baking. . .
and rhubarb pie-making gave us reason to do some recipe-reading, along with tons of other foods!
- Trying New Things: New textures, new tastes, new smells, and new sounds, food is a super-awesome way to introduce new things to our little ones!
You got it– kolhrabi. It’s awesome.
Star Fruit— a lot more pretty than kohlrabi and a tad bit sweeter.
But Cora was beaming when she mastered making pancit for the first time!
- Working on Fine Motor Skills: Chopstocks (or tongs) and egg cartons and a few pieces of gummy candy made learning colors, counting, and working fine motor muscles so much sweeter!
Chopsticks, colors, and sorting = FUN with candy
- Learning Shapes: With some red licorice and shape cards, my kids loved learning their shapes!
- Celebrating Holidays: Along with great crafts and games and family traditions, holidays also provide yet another reason to have some fun with food!
These Spooky Ghosts rocked our Halloween party–
. . . like our fake fingers, eyeballs, and boogies!
- Creating Patterns: Patterning in crafts or cooking help our kiddos with math and critical thinking skills.
Veggie kabob patterns were a bit more healthy —
but my kiddos totally ‘hearted’ playing with patterns using candy message hearts!
- Researching: Having fun with food also means doing a little bit of research sometimes.
We researched to learn what kind of apples an apple tree produced,
- Using Imaginations: When they’re given the ‘go’, kids never cease to amaze me with what they can created, and the same thing goes for creating in the kitchen!
And we all had a ‘splash’ creating Owen’s pool party cupcakes, too!
Candy Sushi took the cake at Maddy’s birthday party!
- Showing Love for Pets: Our Brady is quite the spoiled pooch–with our attempt at homemade dog treats, my kids not only had fun in the kitchen, they showed their furry brother how much they love him!
Brady loved his homemade dog treats–fun with food for dogs, not humans. (But we all tried them!)
And that’s about it for the Fun with Food round-up!
I am grateful to have been invited by my pal Deborah, of Teach Preschool, to participate in her ABC Round-Up, part of her celebration for reaching 20,000 Facebook likes. WHEW, right? She’s just that awesome, as is her blog. Thank you, Deborah for all you do to promote early learning in fun, hands-on, and worthwhile ways!! Congrats!