Saturday, 18 August 2012

A ‘Bowlful’ of Learning!

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We constantly hear that cooking with little ones is a lot of fun, great to do, keeps them busy and encourages them to eat... and eat well! And of course, cooking with little ones accomplishes all these things, but it does so much more than that! I would go so far to say, that cooking is one of the most invaluable learning experiences that a child could engage in. Here is how I think cooking fits into the spectrum of a child’s learning. It is;

Artistic: Got a child with an artistic flair? Then they will love to decorate and prettify everything they make. They will be the ones that do an awesome job ‘plating up’.

Mathematical: Whether cooking by natural instinct or cooking with a recipe, it requires measuring, estimation, fractions and more.  Asking children questions like “If we need to cut it into quarters, how many parts will we end up with?” or “How much more of that do we need?” while cooking helps to get their mathematical mind into gear.

Literal: Cooking doesn’t have to be just about reading a recipe. Children’s literacy can be developed just through the art of conversation. Identifying new ingredients and ways to handle them (Are you chopping, slicing, grating or dicing?) all helps!

Scientific: Exploring the change that occurs when ingredients are subjected to cooling, heating or reacting with other ingredients is so fascinating for children. Discussing nutritional aspects helps children know what is in what they are eating too.

Movement: Stirring, cracking of eggs, peeling of fruits and vegetables are all a great way to develop the fine motor skills of these developing little beings.

Now that I’ve written that down, I’m even more convinced that cooking with children is a little underrated as a learning experience! I’m currently cooking with some Grade 3/4s and I love watching them work on all these areas above. Of course, some children will favour certain types of learning more than others. Perhaps they lean on the artistic or mathematical side over the others, or maybe their literacy skills need work but they’re really great at ‘movement’. That only means, that through cooking, they will be exposed to and nurture aspects of their learning that may not be their strengths. Like adults, you just have to get in there and give it a go, and more than once to make any progress.

I can’t cook with Mr. T just yet, but he is a darn good eater so he is halfway there ;-)

Do you think your child fits into the above? Do you have a recipe you cook with your kids and would love to know some specific ‘teaching’ points for it? Let me know and I may be able to write it up for you J

Happy Cooking!
School of Mum

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