Early Childhood Education experts agree that cooking with children has innumerous benefits from laying the foundation for basic math concepts to supporting healthy eating habits.
"We believe that children learn best through play and when they are able to fully engage all of their senses.
The textures, smells, and tastes from the various ingredients provide an unmatched organic experience with an ability to enthrall, entice, and spur a sense of wonder in the children’s eyes. As educators, we foster each child’s independence and encourage the exploration of culinary creations, igniting a sense of accomplishment which provides an insatiable desire to push boundaries while we work together to create tantalizing results."
NAEYC National Association for Education of Young Children
Children look to adults to see what a “good” food is. Often times children are more likely to eat food they have prepared, even if it is something they may not taste otherwise.
- American Dietetic Association, 2011
- Alice Waters of The Edible Schoolyard
You can incorporate the appreciation of cooking as an art by calling attention to colors, textures, and patterns while allowing children to make decisions, add extra features, and do as much of the work as possible.
(Early Childhood News)
- Marcel Boulestin
Sensory experiences are wonderful for brain development and cooking with children engages all of their senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting!
Stirring, whisking, chopping, peeling, beating, kneading... all of these cooking processes provide the opportunity to develop physical skills – both fine (fingers, hands and co-ordination) and gross (arm and body) motor skills.
Time is a challenging concept for little ones to grasp, but each time they experience setting a timer and waiting for it to alert them when the food is done cooking helps to form an understanding of something very abstract.
Cooking experiences provide a hands-on, contextual way to introduce mathematical concepts to children and being actively involved within a meaningful context is important when it comes to early learning. Especially with abstract concepts such as those related to measurement, number and sequencing.
(Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences)
Cooking experiences provide a natural way for children to learn new vocabulary – as we talk together about the ingredients we are using, cooking processes and changes observed, they are being introduced to new words and their meanings.
"Hands-on cooking activities help children develop pride and confidence in their skills and abilities as well as encouraging self-direction and independence."
- Creative Enrichment - Stimulating Young Minds
- NY Times
"Cooking activities connect to three important content areas in science: life science, physics, and chemistry.
The ingredients in recipes come from plants and animals. Children begin to understand the connection between their own lives and the plants and animals that help meet their needs.
Experimenting with simple machines, tools, and actions and their effect on objects connects cooking activities to physics.
As children combine liquid and dry ingredients, they can immediately see a change in materials. The addition of heat and cold also causes changes in materials that children can observe. For children cooking is beginning chemistry."
- Teaching STEM in the Early Years by Sally Moomaw
Food is a great vehicle for communication. Children learn to share, how to take turns, and to enjoy eating together. Cooking promotes social knowledge as kids learn healthy practices for hygiene and dining, explore cultural traditions regarding the creation of certain foods, and follow safety precautions during preparation and cooking.
We offer all kinds of activities at the Children's Garden but cooking is the one activity that every kid comes running to the table, eager, curious, and ready to learn. Stay tuned for our new cookbook 'Kids Love to Cook!'.
½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ginger juice