Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Reasons to Cook with Children
I am appreciating that Dr. Lee gave me a challenge for preparing egg’s project .Especially for young children. I plan my cooking lesson done with children. Qiqiwas three years old, we made hard-boiled eggs together. After the eggs had been boiled and cooled, I gave Qiqi an egg. She tapped the eggshell gently on the table until she had cracked the shell into many pieces, and for nearly twenty minutes she carefully picked the tiny bits of shell off the egg with deep concentration. After she finished, he looked up and beamed at me and said, “I did it!” Cooking can give children a deep sense of satisfaction and build their self-confidence. It can help them grow in the many ways!
1. Learn about nutrition and increase their willingness to try a new food
2. Develop valuable self-help skills and increase independence
3. Develop math concepts through counting, measuring, timing, and ordering events
4. Work cooperatively with others
5. Develop reading skills, recognizing symbols and words
6. Learn to follow directions and complete all the steps necessary to finish a task
7. Explore the world’s foods and learn about the customs of people from around the world
8. Learn science concepts: temperature, volume, how something can change when it is heated, etc.
9. Improve fine motor control through using hand muscles
10. Express themselves creatively
Cooking Together Makes Sense
Young children are sensory learners: They use all their senses to explore the world. Cooking gives children plenty of interesting sensory experiences every day. Children use their sense of touch to knead bread dough, tear lettuce leaves, and squeeze juice from an orange. The smell of vanilla, cinnamon, and onions are all powerful for young children. They hear the sound of corn popping or the soft hiss of water boiling. And of course they get to taste the different foods.
Take your cue from each child when trying out new foods. Do not force any child to touch, smell, or taste any food. It is natural for children to take their time in trying a new food. In fact, many children need to be presented with a new food as many as ten times before they are willing to try it. We can help children develop a healthy relationship with food by letting them discover what they like and don’t like to eat.
Getting Set for Cooking
When you cook with children in your kitchen, good organization pays off. Keep any special cooking supplies for the children in a box. The basics include measuring spoons and cups, mixing spoons, spatulas, a vegetable peeler, plastic bowls, a sauce pan, and a cutting board. If you store these items together, you can pull out everything that you need easily and quickly. If you work in a child care center, you may not have an oven available, but that doesn’t have to stop you from cooking with the children. Many recipes don’t require heating. You can also use a toaster oven, an electric burner, or an electric skillet. Families may be willing to donate these supplies if you explain what you are planning to do.
There are many recipe books for children, including those with picture recipes. Some have cute recipes, such as making mice out of a pear half. Others have more “adult” food. Both kinds of recipe books can give you great ideas for cooking with children. Don’t be shy to try something that seems more like an adult recipe than a kid snack. And don’t limit yourself to snack foods: Try breakfast foods and “anytime” foods.
Be sure to read over a recipe before using it. Here are some things to think about when considering a recipe:
# What skills will the children learn?
# Does the recipe include cooking skills that are hard for younger children?
# How many steps does the recipe have? How much waiting time will there be?
# Is this a good opportunity to teach children how to work together?
# How likely is it that the children will make mistakes that will affect the results? (Lumps in muffin batter aren’t much of a problem, but lumps in some cake batters could result in the cake not rising.) Is this recipe costly to make?
# Do you have all the supplies readily available, or will you need to make a trip to the store?
Even children as young as three can help with recipes with these skills involved.
Here are some of the many cooking skills you can find in recipes:
* Pouring - fill and pour from pitchers
* Stirring - mixing muffin batter
* Rolling with a rolling pin - flattening and thinning out dough
* Kneading- punching dough down
* Squeezing - squeezing fruit for juice
* Washing - cleaning potatoes and carrots with a brush
* Measuring liquid and dry ingredients
* Cutting with cookie cutters - pressing cookie cutters into dough
* Pounding - making graham cracker crumbs
As fine motor skills improve, children are better able to do these skills:
* Beating- whipping egg whites
* Grinding - grinding wheat for bread
* Peeling - using a vegetable peeler to remove potato skin
* Grating- grating cheese or carrots
Cooking can give children a great sense of satisfaction. When children cook, they are learning many skills, including math and reading skills as well as how to work together. They also get a chance to practice motor skills through things like pouring, stirring, and measuring. Cooking is a great sensory experience that children enjoy. When you prepare by having the basic supplies on hand and selecting some simple recipes, you are setting the stage for learning and fun through cooking.
A Word About Messes
Cooking with children can be messy! Children can pick up on our tension if we’re worried about messes. Then they could become nervous and afraid of making more messes and mistakes. If you are relaxed about messes and mistakes, the children will be too. If we teach a positive attitude towards trying to things and making mistakes, we are doing much more than just teaching cooking. So keep plenty of sponges handy and a smile on your face!