Ever since my kids were tiny, I’ve let them play around in the kitchen.
It hasn’t always been pretty, but it’s been fun. And now, though they’re still learning, at 10, 9, and 7 years old, my kids are pretty skilled at cracking eggs, measuring ingredients, and navigating the wilds of cookie baking and meal-making.
Recently, Cora has been into some serious snack preparation.
Not only has this benefitted our bellies; what I’ve also been reminded of is how important recipe reading is for kids.
Kids are decoding important functional, everyday words. They’re reading informational text. They’re analyzing words and phrases in a text and interpreting what it all means.
And the coolest part of the whole recipe reading for kids? They’re having fun and learning in the kitchen.
Cora rocked out some serious recipe reading and Monster-Sandwich making in our kitchen, and it was a blast for all of us.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Recipe Reading for Kids–Fun Learning in the Kitchen with Monster Sandwiches:
Cora used one of the recipe books I pulled out for our Tabletop Surprises: Favorite All-Time Recipes Silly Snacks (2004).
She flipped through the book, and she immediately declared that she was going to make each snack. I knew she couldn’t because most of the recipes required something we didn’t have in our pantry.
So I encouraged her to use a sticky note to bookmark the snacks she wanted to make. And she could make one snack each day.
We need to make sure we have all of the ingredients, I told her. And this is the only way. You choose what you’d like to make, and then we’ll make a grocery list.
So she did.
It was a weekend, so Monster Sandwiches would be our lunch.
We worked together making a grocery list, and then we hit the store. It went surprisingly well, I think because she was focused and knew her recipe would be our lunch. She was totally psyched.
When it came to actually preparing to read the recipe, we did what every chef should do first: we read the ingredients and put them out on the counter.
Then Cora took the lead and read through each step, starting with opening rolls and spreading them with butter.
Step two required a layering of cold cuts, tomato and cucumber slices, and then finally making the monster tongue.
Though Monster Sandwiches are basically just a cold cut sandwich, it didn’t matter. The simple 3-step recipe had a few crazy and exciting parts, and Cora loved it.
The photo in the book helped her as well, and that’s half the fun of being a chef–comparing the photo to your masterpiece and making changes where you see fit.
Hands down, the sweet gherkin ‘horns’ and black olive eyes were a super-cool part of this recipe, and little hands needed a bit of help in securing them.
Recipe reading for kids is a great way of sneaking in some reading and learning in the kitchen, for so many reasons.
Here are a few of our ‘learning in the kitchen’ posts:
- recipe reading (and cookie eating)
- fractions with food
- holiday baking with kids
- kabob patterns
- get kids to try new foods
- fun with food
- muffin tin meals
- let’s make muffins!
- plastic bag ice-cream
- not-so-teeny zucchini
Just a few years ago, we realized that Maddy was not reading closely at all–she was skimming during reading–so recipe reading really helped get her back on track. You can’t glaze over steps in a recipe; you can’t glaze over ingredients, or you’ll end up with something quite unlike what you set out to make.
Maddy and I had to have a serious ‘skimming vs reading’ conversation, and baking helped us through it.
How do you incorporate learning in the kitchen? I’d love to hear it in the comments below!
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