Wednesday, June 19, 2013
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Now that school is out, most of us are looking for ways to keep our kids entertained and engaged. Perhaps we should consider “kids time” in the kitchen. Cooking is not only fun and tasty, but a great way to enhance your child’s math, science and literacy skills. Here is a run down of some of the benefits.
Cooking provides a hands-on, meaningful way to introduce children to mathematical concepts. Even though most of us don’t realize it, recipes are math word problems that include whole numbers and fractions. One of the biggest challenges with word problems is reading the text and understanding what it is asking. I can’t think of a better way to encourage kids to become comfortable with word problems than to have them make cookies. After all, there is a big incentive to read the problem carefully and correctly and execute it exactly, so they can enjoy a tasty treat.
Measurement and experimentation are critical components of science. Most recipes require some type of measurement whether is accurately weighing fruit on a kitchen scale or measuring oil in a glass measuring-cup. Not only do kids have to learn what piece of equipment to use, but they have to understand how to use it properly. Experimentation can easily be integrated into the cooking process. If the pancake recipe calls for chocolate chips and a child want to substitute blueberries, he has to figure out how the recipe needs to be modified.
Cooking provides a low-pressure way for children to learn new vocabulary and enhance their reading skills. Executing a recipe teaches memorization and can improve reading comprehension abilities. To follow a recipe, a child must read the passage, handle a task), return to the passage, and handle another task. This back and forth activity teaches memorization, how to read and follow instructions, and how to find pertinent information in text.
Cooking together is a natural way to discuss proper nutrition. In addition, it provides an opportunity to talk about the importance of fruits and vegetables and can be a low-pressure way to encourage a more balanced diet. In an age when childhood obesity is a significant issue, early awareness and focus on a balanced diet is important.
So build some “kitchen time” into your child’s schedule this summer. It might allow you some time to relax and will help keep your child’s mind working over the summer.