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The Benefits of Cooking With Children

By Amber Keefer

Cooking offers children a variety of learning experiences. It’s a practical way to teach kids basic life skills, as well as academic skills involving reading, science and math. Time spent together in the kitchen also encourages interaction and communication between parents and children. The entire family benefits from healthy meals, a sense of shared accomplishment and the enjoyment of each other’s company.

Build Self-Confidence

Cooking can boost a youngster’s self-confidence. Support your child in taking on the task. Allow him to help prepare a meal for the family. This will help him to feel important in his contribution. Work together with your child as part of a team. Show him how the combined efforts of more than one individual can produce greater results. Because cooking gives a child a sense of responsibility, compliment and praise your child’s efforts. Preparing meals together provides quality family time that leads to bonding, which helps boost children's self-confidence.

Use of Imagination

Encourage your child to use her imagination to express herself in the kitchen. This gives her the chance to experiment and improve her problem solving skills. Let her mix together recipes and substitute different ingredients. Recipes that list optional ingredients are another way to experiment. Even though things can get a bit messy when little hands pitch in, it’s worth it to see a proud, confident child show off her culinary achievements.

Sensory Experiences

Children, especially very young children, rely on their senses to explore the world. Cooking offers kids opportunities to use the senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Working with food lets a child focus on his senses individually as well as collectively. Cooking teaches a child how to use his eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue to observe the things. In addition, kids can improve their fine motor skills when helping out in the kitchen.

Improve Math and Science Skills

Increase your child’s enthusiasm for science and math through cooking. According to author and education consultant Ellen Booth Church, experimenting with recipes offers children practical, hands-on experience when it comes to making observations and predicting change. Following the steps of a recipe involves reading and sequencing skills. Math comes into play when counting and measuring ingredients.

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