Benefits

Baking with Children Boosts their Development

Baking / Cooking can help young children learn and practice some basic math concepts and build language skills. It may take a little flexibility and some simple prep work, but with the right expectations, your time in the kitchen with your child can be a culinary adventure that you will both enjoy. Measure one cup of water, Stir the mixture or rolling out the Dough… all of these tasks help children to develop necessary academic, cognitive and motor skills. I am sure you didn’t even know that each time you let your child help you to prepare a meal, you are preparing them for success in school and in life. Baking/Cooking with your Children can offer a great variety of opportunities to learn and grow.

Benefits of Baking / Cooking with Children Increases Language Development

Every time you bake/cook, you are labeling ingredients which increases your Child’s vocabulary. They also have to follow directions which enhances receptive language skills. Whilst Baking/Cooking, explain each step in detail and then have your child describe what they are doing for even greater language development. For the older children have them predict what will happen next or have them guess what the next ingredient would be.

Enhances Fine Motor Skills

Allowing Children to mix the ingredients, roll out the dough, using cookie cutters or rolling little balls are all excellent ways to enhance their fine motor strength and to develop control. These skills will assist to develop their academic skills such as writing, cutting and coloring. You can also help to improve these  skills even more by allowing them to help pour the ingredients into the mixing bowl, or allowing them to mix the ingredients together.

Bilateral Coordination

Baking/Cooking can give your child lots of opportunity to develop and use the hands in a coordinated way. Developing good bilateral coordination skills can help teach your child to tie shoelaces, cut with scissors and draw a line with a ruler. Rolling balls of dough, rolling out dough with a rolling pin and flattening the dough with the hands are all great ways of letting children practice their bilateral coordination skills. Sifting flour also trains your child to use one hand to “support” while the other does heavy work.

Eye-Hand Coordination

Pouring ingredients into bowls or jugs and pouring batter into tins are all good ways for children to practice their eye-hand coordination. Decorating cookies with icing on cookies or putting the frosting on cupcakes also uses eye-hand coordination.

Hand Strengthening

Baking/Cooking with children can give them loads of opportunities to strengthen their hand and finger muscles. Squeezing dough into balls gets the hands working, even sprinkling cheese can give the fingers a workout

Spatial Perception and Planning Skills

There should always be a recipe involved when baking with kids!

Whether they read the recipe themselves (in words or pictures) or follow your verbal instructions, following a recipe can boost your child’s listening and sequencing skills. Following instructions is an important school skill and baking/cooking can give your child lots of practice in this.

Spatial perception and planning skills are also boosted when your child has to cut out cookies. Challenge your child to get as many cookies as possible from single roll-out of the dough –this will challenge your child to place the cookie cutters in a way to minimize waste.

Increases Math Skills

As we all know Baking / Cooking involves  a great deal of measuring. Whilst Baking/ Cooking children will learn various measurements such as cups, teaspoons and tablespoons etc. Children will also learn to understand fractions as well as how to use their addition and subtraction skills. You can help your child with basic math skills by doing something simple as counting eggs, or pouring water into a measuring cup. You can ask what comes first, second and third or count together as you spoon dough into baking tray.

Exploring with their Senses

Children also learn by exploring with their senses and the kitchen is an ideal place to do that. Let them listen to the whir of the mixer, pound the dough and watch it rise, smell things baking in the oven and finally taste it fresh from the oven. If it smells good, looks appealing and is easy to eat they may just be willing to try it!

Improves Reading & Language Skills

Baking/Cooking can offer a great opportunity to help with language development. Talking and describing what you are doing can expose young children to new words and terms. As children get older they can describe to you what they are doing, what the see, smell and how things feel etc. Once reading, they can practice the skill by reading the recipe.

Following the steps in the recipe can also work on listening skills. For younger children, start with the numbers for example “2” Cups of flour or “4” tablespoons of butter etc. Older children can also read each step and then follow the instructions of what they have read. This will also help enhance their reading comprehension.

Increases Focus and Attention

When Baking/Cooking children need to stay focused and pay attention to every detail or the recipe will not be completed correctly. If they miss the first step or any step in between their final product will be a “flop”. Children learn very quickly that they have to pay attention if they want to eat that brownie or cookie at the end!

Teaches them Life Skills

Baking/Cooking is a Life skill that is needed to be an Independent adult. Children can learn early on how to make their own sandwich or pour something to drink. Older children can learn to cook meals for themselves and their family to enjoy, or help to bake that awesome birthday cake! Teaching them to Bake/Cook will allow children to become more independent and responsible individuals.

Baking / Cooking will also teach your child various important safety lessons such as using a knife correctly, not to touch a hot stove or oven or not to leave a pot or pan handle sticking over the counter top and much more.

Promotes Healthy Eating

As parents we all struggle to get our children to eat more healthy foods as we all know children are notoriously picky eaters. Encourage children taste new ingredients you are working with and talk about what they like and how healthy foods make a body grow. Allowing our Children to bake/cook helps to teach them what foods are healthy and what foods are not. It will also encourage your child to try new foods if they are involved with making it and will encourage them to eat at home instead of out which can often provide unhealthy options.

Exploring with their Senses

Children also learn by exploring with their senses and the kitchen is an ideal place to do that. Let them listen to the whir of the mixer, pound the dough and watch it rise, smell things baking in the oven and finally taste it fresh from the oven. If it smells good, looks appealing and is easy to eat they may just be willing to try it!

Boosts Self-Confidence

Children love to show what they can do and working in the kitchen provides opportunities to gain a sense of accomplishment. Let them know that their help is important. Name a dish after your child. When your child is able to successfully assist or complete a recipe and make a meal or treat, they will feel a sense of confidence, pride and accomplishment. The more children Bake/Cook the more their level of independence increases which in turn will boost their level of self-confidence and self-esteem even if the end results are not exactly what you expected, praise their efforts.

Encourages Bonding Time

A Kitchen is a great place for parents to spend quality time with their children. It can be a place to talk about family traditions or it can simply be a place just to catch up with day to day life. It is also a great environment for siblings to cooperate and communicate, building stronger relationships.

Baking / Cooking is something the entire family can enjoy. For example make it a routine to cook a Sunday Lunch or Dinner together each week or make Saturday a Baking day. Baking/Cooking Together encourages Quality Bonding Time

FUN

Last but by no means least, baking/cooking with children can be fun and enjoyable for both the children and adults. Your child will the joy of creating a dish and eating it, all while you create Lasting Memories that your children may treasure forever.