Fortunately my daughter Maya has always been an adventurous eater. It’s probably because we lived in the DC area and ate out several times a week — Cuban, Thai, sushi, you name it. Her favorite food is still dumplings.
Now that she’s five years old, she has decided that she wants to be a cooker (aka chef) when she grows up, so we’re working together in the kitchen more often. Not only is she trying new foods and honing her future craft, she’s improving her math and reading skills too.
- Build basic math skills. Counting out eggs or following 1, 2, 3 instructions helps reinforce the basic math she’s learning in kindergarten.
- Help young kids explore with their senses. Forming meatballs with her hands, licking the beaters, cracking the eggs, and smelling the fruit of her labor all stimulate her senses and help promote fine motor skills.
- Build basic literacy skills. As we’re cooking, I have her follow along as I read the recipe aloud. Sometimes I ask her to identify one of her sight words from school or sound out a word. My daughter struggles some with letters and sounds, so this is a non-threatening way to help her in this area.
- Boost confidence. Not that Maya needs any help in this area — she is full of spunk and confidence — she does enjoy seeing her finished creation and showing it off to her adoring fans.
For older kids, cooking teaches valuable life skills, helps develop healthy eating habits, and assists with learning fractions.
For more ideas on fun activities you can do with your kids at home to stimulate their growth and development, check out the Arkansas Better Beginnings Pinterest boards. One of my faves on there is the bubble wrap stomp painting — think we’ll have to do that this weekend!
See more at: http://www.arbetterbeginnings.com