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Cooking Activities for Kids: 4 Amazing Developmental Benefits

Cooking with kids is the hallmark of special occasions: holiday dinners, birthdays, and family parties. The process makes for cute memories and even cuter pictures. However, the benefits kids experience cooking are far greater and long-lasting. Here’s why it may be high time to order a youth-size apron for your new assistant chef.

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Cooking activities for kids make for cute memories and even cuter pictures. No less, the benefits kids experience cooking are far greater and long-lasting. While the kitchen is most definitely a classroom at home, many do not realize that we too can cook in the classroom. Cooking activities for kids are the perfect way to enhance their social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. Not to mention, the fantastic opportunities children have when learning skills that are applicable to real life!

Why are cooking activities good for kids?

Cooking With Kids Benefits Their Social-Emotional Development

Kids cooking in the classroom undoubtedly promotes their social-emotional development. Students can engage in skills such as sharing, collaborating, participating in discourse, self-regulation, reasoning, and problem-solving. This may look like pouring liquids together or washing vegetables. Hands-on cooking allows children to take charge of their learning through firsthand experiences. As children cook in the classroom, they develop confidence and attention to detail over time. By creating and following recipes as a team, children learn the importance of following directions and being aware of those around them. When a child successfully completes a recipe, they will feel a sense of pride, confidence, and a boost to their self-esteem.

Kids Cooking Promotes Their Physical Development

Cooking activities for kids in the classroom enhances physical development among young children. When cooking, children are continuously engaging in fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills. Children can practice mixing, squeezing, spreading, kneading, shaking, mashing, tearing, and more! This may look like squeezing a lemon, tearing up lettuce, shaking up a jar to make butter, or spreading jelly onto a slice of bread. Throw on some music for an extra element of movement: dance!

Cooking With Kids Enhances Cognitive Development

Cooking activities for kids promote cognitive development through critical thinking skills. Children can practice reasoning, making predictions, problem-solving, and creativity skills while cooking. Through the natural processes of cooking, children come to understand ideas of measuring, sequencing, and cause and effect. For example, children will come to understand that making mistakes is a part of the cooking process. Students will consider problem-solving and reasoning before letting a spill get the best of them!

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Kids Cooking Even Improves Language Development

Cooking with kids in the classroom extends language development in multidisciplinary ways. Cooking activities for kids can include language and vocabulary that connect to mathematics, science, social studies, social justice, arts, and literacy. This can be illustrated by encouraging children to discuss their process, make observations aloud, ask open-ended questions, and build from their responses. You can ask children what they are doing? What tools they are utilizing? What they are measuring? How this activity makes them feel? and how does the texture change? For example, a student may smash an avocado and point out that the solid texture has become mushy and soft. The opportunities for vocabulary implementation and meaningful conversation are endless!

Language development is also enhanced through reading and writing practices. Children may be prompted to create their own recipes or follow a class recipe. Children will be able to read, comprehend, and carry out the instructions. Educators can support the children by modeling and using pictures!

Easy Cooking Activities for Kids

Overall, cooking in the classroom enhances learning, social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. We as educators can promote cooking in our classrooms while making interdisciplinary connections. Through an integrated approach, children can take charge of their learning by experimenting with cooking!

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