Meet my three youngest children, the mini chefs, (from left to right) Freddie, Nathan, and Alfie.
I was recently criticised for allowing my children to cook with me as I was told it is a waste of time, money, effort and food allowing the children to get involved in the kitchen. However, I completely disagree as I think there are many benefits for children in joining in with food preparation. Here are just a few reasons why I believe that teaching children to cook is important.
Life skills- Cooking is one of the most important life skills that you can teach your children. There are many different cooking processes and techniques to learn, so the sooner you start teaching them, the better.
Social skills- Developing social skills is one of the biggest benefits of cooking with children. They can learn to communicate effectively, listen, share, take turns, and work as part of a team as well as using their own initiative.
Science- Many aspects of cooking involve scientific processes taking place. For example, liquids becoming solids, temperature changes taking place, and so on. Cooking is the ideal way to introduce these concepts to your child in a fun way.
Literacy- While some kids love reading, others hate it and refuse to so much as pick up a book. Cooking is one way of getting them to read without thinking of it as a literacy activity. Reading recipes or instructions from packaging is an important part of the cooking process. They may also extend their vocabulary in the process.
Maths- Cooking can make maths fun for kids. There are many mathematical concepts used in cooking that you may not have even realized. Just some of the topics you can teach your children about when cooking include temperature, weight, volume, and time.
Safety- Some of the equipment used in the kitchen is potentially dangerous. There is always a risk of burns, scalds, and cuts when working in the kitchen. However, rather than looking at this as a negative, use it as an opportunity to teach the children about safety and hygiene in the kitchen. If you are always supervising the children in the kitchen and you choose age-appropriate activities for them to get involved with, then the risks are greatly reduced.
Bonding- Day-to-day responsibilities often get in the way of a busy family spending time together. Making meals is one of the tasks that can detract you from spending time with the children. Instead of this happening, use the food preparation time as a way of enjoying an activity together.
Creativity- Most children love to get involved in creative activities, especially ones that involve any level of mess-making. Cooking is definitely a creative activity, from preparing the ingredients to presenting a meal on a plate.
Fun- Last but most certainly not least, cooking is a fun activity that most children enjoy. Having fun together as a family is just as important as all the educational benefits of cooking with children.