Math, fine motor skills, chemistry, geography — there are so many skills kids can learn in the kitchen! Plus 14 easy kid-friendly recipes in our handy meal planner and recipe downloadable
Learning at home does not have to stop once school reopens. Studies have shown that the more involved parents are in helping their kids learn at home, the better they’ll do at school, academically and socially. We don’t mean going back into #HBL teacher mode (sigh of relief!). Your kids can learn so much just through simple everyday fun activities like cooking and meal prep. So how do you get started?.
We’ve done the meal planning for you and chosen a week’s worth of snack and meal recipes to try making together with your kids.
We have made sure these recipes include fruits and vegetables, carbs, protein and healthy fats. Many of the recipes use shelf-stable products that you’re likely to have on hand already, like corn and tinned Tomato Sauce cans from the downloadable must-have pantry list. Heritage brand Del Monte stocks quality shelf stable products that are easy on the pocket and perfect for making kid-friendly meals. Plus some of the products (Del Monte Whole Kernel Corn, Cream Corn, Mixed Vegetables and Aloe Vera) are packed in easy-to-peel boxes so you don’t need a can opener and they are much safer to open when kids are helping in the kitchen.
So let’s take a look at what kids can learn in the kitchen.
What Can Kids Learn Through Cooking?
1. Fine motor skills: Cooking and baking requires lots of hands-on dexterity, like mixing batter, clutching a hand whisk and beating.
Cook this: Grilled fruit and chicken kebabs. Kids will develop fine motor skills whilst carefully chopping the red and yellow peppers for this dish. Younger kids can chop the Del Monte peaches/pineapple, which are soft enough to chop with a child-safe knife. Older kids can thread the meat (make sure they wash hands immediately after) and vegetables/fruit onto the wooden skewers under supervision. All these activities help develop hand strength and fine motor skills which are so important.
2. Math: Why do you need to know fractions and numbers, your kids may ask? Cooking gives kids a practical insight into why Math is so important. Math skills include measuring (½ cup and ¼ cup recipes), counting, dividing portions, and cutting into equal pieces.
Make this: Chia Fruit Pots offer kids the opportunity to count out the fruit portions and chop into equal shapes and then work on division (you need to halve the yogurt into two equal portions).
3. Reading and vocabulary: Older kids can have a go reading recipes and there’s an opportunity to learn new words (ingredients, cooking terms) and work on comprehension skills. Why not encourage older kids to write down their favourite recipe to practice handwriting skills too?
Cook this: If you have little ones, start off with this No-bake Oatie Bar or the Fruit Smoothie. Both are short, easy recipes that are easy to follow and a good start to learn simple cooking terms. Older kids and tweens can have a go baking the delicious Peach Pie which has more challenging steps to develop greater comprehension of vocab and rules.
4. Chemistry and science: Cooking demonstrates how food changes. Explore what happens when hot or cold temperatures are applied to different foods. Eggs go from liquid to solid when cooked, water (liquid) turns into ice (solid) when frozen. Make predictions and then watch as you cook. Notice how some vegetables and fruit oxidise when cut and are exposed to oxygen. Discuss osmosis as you hydrate the chia seeds. Older kids can be taught the science behind all these concepts.
Make this: Vegan Corn Fritters demonstrate what happens when heat is applied to eggs while Fruit Ice Pops shows how liquid freezes to solids. What happens when you apply heat back to the solid ice pop (from your tongue)? Does it change back to liquid?
5-6. Geography and Culture: Get chatting with your kids about the different ingredients; which country does it come from? How is it made or grown? Why are certain ingredients more abundant in certain areas/climates? For older kids discuss advancements in food agriculture and the supply chain. To learn about different cultures, talk about different cuisines, traditions and customs of different countries.
Cook this: Veggie Quesadillas, Sweet & Sour Prawns, Hawaiian Pizza, and Pasta & Homemade Tomato sauce. Do your kids know where prawns come from in the wild and how they are farmed? Quesadillas are from Mexico, can you find Mexico on a map and research the customs about this country? What culture eats pizza and pasta on a daily basis? Investigate where pasta comes from (your kids may be surprised to know pasta is likely to have originated from ancient Asian noodles.)
7-11. Creativity, Problem solving, History, Nutrition, Social skills, and Planning
Of course you can weave in so many other lessons, skills and conversations as you cook together in the kitchen. Cooking sparks creativity with plating food and creating your own recipes and offers kids the opportunity to problem solve if you don’t have the right ingredients/equipment. History (what foods and cooking methods people used in the past – i.e. when there were no fridges or microwaves) can be chatted about. Kids can learn about health and nutrition (eating a balanced diet), social skills like sharing, taking turns, time management and planning (which all come into play in meal planning).
Plus Cooking skills!
One of the most obvious skills kids will learn while in the kitchen is how to cook and appreciate food. If you have fussy eaters on your hands, when you involve kids in cooking their meals, they are much more likely to appreciate the effort that goes into meal prep and eat what they have helped make, so it’s win-win all round.
Excited to get cooking with your kiddos and reap the benefits of this bonding time while teaching your kids a variety of skills? Download our handy recipe and meal plan and grab your Del Monte ingredients and get cooking!
Del Monte products are available in major retailers (FairPrice, Cold Storage, Giant, Sheng Siong) and online stores (Redmart, Amazon Prime, Pandamart).
Del Monte, www.plm.com.sg