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Benefits of Cooking with Your Children




 

By Martha Sanders

 

One of my earliest and sweetest memories of my childhood is cooking with my grandmother. It was grandmother who ignited my passion for cooking and baking. I remembered those whimsical adventures in the kitchen, stirring, mixing, squashing, kneading, rolling, scooping...  It was so much fun!

 

The thought of cooking with children may not be appealing to many parents as it is not something you look forward to when you are tired, children screaming behind and the whole family is hungry. But cooking with children is not a daunting task. It is a golden opportunity which open up a world of imagination and creativity to young minds as well as a good way to build confidence.
 

Cooking is also an ideal way to foster sibling bonding among your children, nurture their appreciation for wholesome foods, imparting a basic life time survival skill and the best deal of all, pass down family traditions and heritage by sharing recipes.

 

The list below reinforces the benefits of cooking with children and you will be amazed at what young chefs can do.

 

 

1. Develops motor skills such as hand eye coordination and manual dexterity:
 

My children enjoy cooking with me from a young age. They are experts at mushing, banging and ripping. At 2 years old, they are learning to use large muscles in their arms so I let them scrub produce and tear greens.

To master hand control, I allow them mix batter, spread soft butter with a plastic knife and bread dough. At the same time, they are also building sensory skills through tasting, hearing, feeling, smelling and seeing different foods.

When children are 4 to 5 years old, they are learning more refined hand and finger co-ordination. At this age, you can introduce manual kitchen gadgets like juicers and egg beaters.

At an older age about 6 to 10 years old, children can do more intricate tasks such as cracking eggs and decorating a cake. However, keep in mind never to include sharp dangerous equipment.

 

 

 

2. Builds a foundation for healthy habits:
 

If you have a picky eater at home, get your child involved in the kitchen to motivate them. Children will eagerly eat food they have prepared themselves and take immense pride in watching others enjoying and appreciating their food – it is a boost to their confidence and self esteem.

 

In addition, families who cook and eat together tend to have better nutrition and less likely to make unhealthy fast food choices. Teach all about food nutrition and inspire children to put down junk food.

 



3. Acquire organizational and mathematical skills:
 

Use the cooking as an educational tool to build and hone skills such as counting, measuring, weighing, tracking time and fractions, and following recipe directions. Children can practice these skills in fun way without realising it.



 

4. Learn about hygiene, encourage responsibility and teamwork:
I make use of this golden opportunity to educate my daughters on proper food handling and personal hygiene. I get them to participate in cleanup by assigning specific and manageable duties after cooking. It is a great way to instill a sense of responsibility from young.

 

Like I said, cooking with children is a great time for spending quality time together, it may take an extra bit of patience but you know it is all worthwhile when you see happy and proud faces!

 

Perhaps you can start your first cooking experience with your children this summer holiday? Don’t forget to take out that camera!

benefits of cooking with children

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