Shopping lists are a great way to help your little one build literacy skills. Say each word as you write it down and get your child to help you sound out the first letter of each word. Once the groceries are home, your child will enjoy checking items off your list.
Following directions in a recipe is another great skill to practice. Keep steps simple for younger kids (“we need to mix the flour and the sugar”). Get older children to read the steps out loud and explain what they think the directions mean.
Vocabulary is another great skill that we can build on. Words stick better in young brains when they are associated with physical movements, like tossing a salad.
Baking is a great way to demonstrate how we use math skills every day! From measurements, weights, volume, fractions and even geometry, we could not bake delicious treats if we didn’t use math! You can point out these concepts with your child, from commenting on the shapes of fruits, to demonstrating how four ¼ teaspoons make a whole teaspoon, to weighing ingredients on a scale. Little brains are math sponges!
Just as math is a big part of baking, so is science. We can talk about hot and cold temperatures with our little ones, and how our cooking changes liquids to solids when we add heat. We can discuss with our older kids how chemical reactions help our food to cook properly and safely. We can demonstrate why we add acids like buttermilk and bases like baking soda to our baked goods to help them rise.
Physical and Mental Well-Being
The kitchen is a great place to talk to your kids about how food choices keep us healthy. It also helps them gain independence. Kids are so proud when they are able to help cook for the family. We can talk about how cooking relaxes us and makes us happy, which helps our brains stay healthy, too!
If baking is not your strong suit, take this time as an opportunity to learn something new with your kids. It shows them that it’s fun to keep learning, even as an adult.