New and Fun Ways to Engage with Your Child at Home: Let’s Get Cooking!

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Sometimes, being at home can be a real drag, and that was back when things were “normal”! We are staying home more often and it can be extremely stressful — especially when you have young children at home! So, instead of freaking out and letting your stress level skyrocket, sit back and check out some super simple ways to engage with your child through cooking!

Cutting Board, food prep, cooking

Cooking is something that is super simple to do because you are already doing it!  Plus, children really love to spend time in the kitchen cooking, which has been well-documented in homes everywhere.

The Benefits of Cooking with Kids

Not only do children really enjoy being a part of cooking a meal, they can learn so much from it, as well. These types of activities can teach and strengthen a ton of great and important life skills. For example, when you ask your child to help you create a menu of dinners for the week, you are helping them to think critically. Or, when you have them assist you in creating a  weekly menu (even just a few days on a chalk board!), you are encouraging their love of words and what they mean as well, as developing their fine motor skills.

How to Involve Children in Cooking

Here are some ideas on how to involve your child in the cooking process (and why it is good for them!):

  • Invite your child to help you create the shopping list for the week or specific meal. This is a really great way for your child to work on their critical thinking as they wonder and decide what things they will need to create meals. It also is a great way to help your child learn responsibility and life skills. If we want to eat, we need to go grocery shopping and purchase what we need. Another great thing about this is that children love feeling responsible for something important, and this certainly fosters that feeling.
  • If you choose to go to the grocery store in-person (or even if you order your groceries online), invite your child to assist you in choosing what you need from the list. You can create their own list that they are responsible for finding or have them help you. This is a really great way to engage them and help them learn! You could give them all items that begin with a certain letter or sound, or all items that are a certain color or taste. By doing this, children can learn how to shop for food which is an important life skill. They can also learn about counting and money. Walk them through how much items are and how much money you have to spend. Talk with them about the difference between cash and using a debit card. These are all simple things that you do every day, but they can be turned into amazing learning opportunities for your child. Plus, once again, they will feel so important that they will probably brag to everyone in the family about how they helped with the shopping, and it is always great to see your child feeling confident. 
  • When it comes time to prepare the meals, this is an awesome time to involve your child as well! Allow them to help you gather ingredients, measure them out, cook and serve. They will learn so many great mathematical and life skills through this simple chore.  Your child will be so engaged in this that you may even find a new-found sense of fun in what may otherwise have become a mundane task. 

Spoons of Spices

We all know that it can be tough to try to find  new ways to engage with your children. Especially during times like this, we are all searching for ways to become more connected. Think of it this way: we know that food brings people together, and the preparation of food and spending time in the kitchen also brings people together, which is something that we all need more of right now. So, use these daily chores as a way to connect with your child. Not only will you and your family feel closer, you will be helping to support your child’s development in so many ways. A win-win!

 

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Samuel
Samuel Broaden has been working in the Early Childhood Education field for over 15 years. In this time, he has worked in center-based child care as a teacher and a Center Director. He most recently was working for the Resource and Referral agency in Sacramento County supporting providers in both center-based and family child care homes in enhancing the quality of their programs. Samuel is very passionate about working with and supporting young children and their families. He believes in the importance of nature, play and child-directed learning to the development of each child. He works hard to help support everyone who works with young children to help create more supportive and trusting early learning environments. His work is centered around the idea that we should be the person we needed when we were younger for the children that we work with and that children deserve to be heard and trusted and given the space to discover who they truly are in relation to themselves and the world around them-without judgement.

1 COMMENT

  1. As an ECE educator and mother, I love the suggestion that we can find connection by bringing our children into daily activities that they previously weren’t apart of. What an incredible thing it would be if they came away from this season with new skills and a deeper parental connection!

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