Cooking in the Kitchen

One of my favorite activities I look forward to each week is my date with my daughter on Friday morning … we go to Starbucks to celebrate surviving the week and enjoy a delicious beverage and a tasty pastry. We used to share that pastry, until she got greedy, and now I have to buy my own, as she has now realized JUST how magnificent those cheese danishes really are. Smart girl, I tell ya. Anywho, though I would NEVER give up this weekly date, the other week I was thinking about how “fun!” it would be to start making those pastries together instead of purchasing them. We went home and proceeded to make our first batch of cherry turnovers (um…with chocolate sauce on top…) …

If you have ever tried to let your toddler or preschooler “help” you as you baked a batch of cookies, you may be a part of the club whose members are still finding chocolate chips in the strangest places. We all know that our little ones are a far cry from being helpful in the kitchen, but do we all know exactly what those little cooking adventures actually give to our children?

Though these cooking adventures may test our patience, or possibly give us a chuckle big enough to last several weeks, a simple pancake recipe can give your child so much more than you probably realize. Let’s explore this a bit … as your child joins you in the kitchen, he is being exposed to …

Math …

  1. counting (2 for me, one for you!)
  2. measuring
  3. sequencing – (life lesson #1: before you wash the dishes, make sure to lick the bowl!)
  4. fractions – (if you break the cookie in half, the calories don’t count)

Science –

  1. discovering food groups (life lesson #2: chocolate is indeed a food group!)
  2. states of matter
  3. experimenting (should I add mint extract to my brownies?)
  4. making predictions (if I add extra chocolate chips, it will be EXTRA delicious!)

Fine Motor Skills

A variety of fine motor development activities such as whisking, scooping, pouring, kneading, mixing, cutting, rolling and more!

Above all those important skills listen above, the most important and most valuable part of cooking with you, is just that … cooking with YOU. This teaches your child that they are important to you, can play an important role in SUCH an important task (cooking!), and that they are valuable and can play a part in a team effort. Whether it be brownies, cake, or cookies …. there is simply no greater pleasure than licking the bowl clean before you wash it … except, of course, sharing that experience with your child…

Because of these many reasons cooking can be so beneficial to your child, Lightning Bug Literacy includes a recipe of some form (food and/or playdough or something of similar nature) to each monthly unit. It is our hope you take these opportunities to explore the many adventures of cooking with your child and in doing so, create many teachable moments (see life lessons 1 and 2) and wonderful memories with your child. Happy cooking!

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