Cooking with your children is one of the easiest ways to provide educational entertainment at home. We realize this might be obvious and that many parents do this without even thinking about it. If you have any suggestions, recipes, or ideas for us, please let us know by commenting below.
First, cooking is all about the math. Let your kids measure things out, and make conversions out loud. Demonstrate the fractions (for example 1/4 of a cup is one of four sections on the ruler). Double your recipes and ask them to do the math. Experiment. Go wild with throwing in your favorite things and see how they do all messed up together! For extra fun, try The Math Chef, by Joan D’Amico.
Second, cooking is all about culture. Research the history of your favorite foods and where they come from and why they were (are) popular. Kids Around the World Cook, by Arlette Braman, gives you lots of good recipes that are kid friendly. Pair the book with some books about the cultures of your favorite countries and practice your geography, history, and cultural studies!
Third, cooking is science. Talk about how the ingredients are grown and processed. Discuss fermentation and the role of eggs in a cake. Look up the science behind your favorite recipes online and then experiment! We use Kitchen Science Lab for Kids, by Liz Lee Heinecke. We also like chemistry sets that allow us to test for acids. Great fun in the kitchen!
Fourth, cooking is language arts. Read books about food, preparing meals, and eating together. Go to the library and find any book with a story about food and then try to re-create what you read. One of our favorite books, Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman, ends with a perfect birthday cake and my kids love to try and make it. Sometimes it turns out well and sometimes, well, sometimes the activity was fun even if the product wasn’t.
Finally, our favorite holiday is just around the corner. What better way to start a family tradition than to cook with your kids? If you are already doing that, fantastic! If you need a little inspiration, here are a couple of kid-friendly Thanksgiving dishes that you can work on together.
- Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/11/delicious_creamy_mashed_potatoes/
- Balsamic Green Bean Salad: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/balsamic-green-bean-salad
- Pumpkin Bars from Betty Crocker: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/pumpkin-spice-bars-with-cream-cheese-frosting/9be2516b-1d5d-440a-96fc-45ecd2f54051
- Simple Salsa (and, we do know that salsa wasn’t served by the pilgrims. However, this is a perfect dish for kids to make and it is so tasty!): http://myfrugaladventures.com/2013/05/simple-homemade-salsa-recipe/
So, if we can farm this all out to the kids, we only have to bake the bird! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!