May 26, 2020 — Cooking With Kids

Posted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 5/26/2020 9:00:00 AM

These are unprecedented times, for sure! Many of us have found ourselves sheltering at home and cooking more than usual. Have you invited your kids into the kitchen? There are many benefits for children and teens when they are able to help in the kitchen. Even the smallest toddler can lend a hand by washing fruits and vegetables or stirring batter. Older children can take on larger tasks of chopping, sautéing, and baking under the observation of an adult. Teens, with a little bit of practice, can complete an entire meal.  

Cooking provides children with a learning opportunity that stimulates all of their senses. Not only does cooking help with math and language skills, but it can help build self-confidence and empower children to make healthy choices. Learning to cook influences food choices and behaviors, and has been shown to increase children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables, contributing to their overall well-being. Even a choosy-eater may be more willing to try a new food if they are involved in the cooking process. If tasting a new food is challenging, encourage your child to smell or touch the food, which can serve as a bridge to later tasting that new food.

Exploring a recipe encourages children to be autonomous and independent, it also teaches them to follow directions and develop problem-solving skills. Cooking and baking integrates math concepts in a real world application with fractions, weighing, counting, and measuring. Science unfolds as you watch a food change as it is baked, boiled, refrigerated, or frozen. Lessons on safety abound in your kitchen when using a hot stove or sharp knife.   

Perhaps the best part of having the kids in the kitchen is the memories you’re creating. Sure, it might be a little messier, a little slower, but what a joy in seeing your child’s sense of accomplishment when they make a new creation for your family to share! And it’s an activity they’ll never forget.