Loosen up, have fun, and let the learning begin...
Here are some tips to make your kitchen classroom more successful:
|Food & Nutrition Fun|
- Learning can be Messy Business – If your kids spill or make a mess, don't fret! It's just too easy to clean up to get upset about it. Make sure both you and your kids are wearing old clothes or maybe even get yourselves some fun aprons.
- Cooking Takes Time – When you're in a hurry and trying to get dinner on the table in half an hour, don't invite your kids to help; you'll only end up tripping over each other. Instead, have fun, slow down, and when you have lots of time to spend with them, invite your kids to participate.
- Explain What You're Doing – Walk your kids through cooking and preparing food step-by-step so they understand what's going on. Explain why we chop before we fry or why these spices taste good together. If you need to do a job for them (like cutting with a sharp knife, for instance), let them watch, tell them what you're doing, and even take the time to explain the different knives and their uses.
- Have Fun! – One of the most important parts of cooking together is that you are spending one-on-one quality time with your kids making memories. Your kids won't be this age for much longer, so have fun with their questions and their new experiences.
Teaching reading and writing in the kitchen is as easy as A,B,C... Here are some fun ideas to get you started:
- Do you have one of those magnetic letter sets on your fridge? A good way to practice phonics is to have your kids make up their own word everyday. They can play with the letters, make up a sound, and use their imagination to come up with a definition. The point isn't to spell real words, but to have fun with letters and sounds. Encourage them to spell difficult words with silent E's or silent K's. Once they get good at this game, try to come up with other ways a word could be spelled. For example, "Noog" could be "Knoog," "Roan" could be "Rone" or even "Rhone," etc.
- The kitchen can also be a great place to set up a vocab of the day board. Every day (or once or week, which ever works best for you), write a new word and it's definition on the board. Everyone has to try to use the word as often as possible while eating breakfast that morning!
- Little kids can learn to write their name by baking cookies cut out in the shapes of their letters. Arrange the baked cookies on a plate and help your child identify each letter, and then help them to spell their name. They'll have fun with the letters and they can tell everyone that their name is delicious!
- Pour white sugar or rice onto a large cookie sheet and practice writing. This is a fun and simple way to teach simple writing or math.
- Take biscuit dough and let your kids make the letters of their names. After everyone is done—just bake and serve.
Cooking and creativity go hand-in-hand. If you think about it, cooking is really an art form in and of itself! Well, why not emphasize how to be artistic in your kitchen while teaching your kids to think creatively?
- Ready for a mess? Cook up a big batch of vanilla pudding, divide amongst a few bowls, and add a couple of drops of food coloring to each bowl. Lay out some waxed paper on the counter and have fun with Pudding Finger Paints! This is a great activity for little kids that love to get dirty—plus you can lick your fingers when you're done!
- Molding shapes that you can eat is another fun idea, so why not whip up a batch of Peanut Butter Play Dough? In a large bowl, combine 1 cup smooth peanut butter, 1 1/4 cups powdered dry milk, 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, and 1 cup white corn syrup. Mix all the ingredients together and knead a little. Place the bowl in the refrigerator until the mixture is chilled—but don't leave for too long or the dough will get hard and unusable. All kids love to play with play dough. The advantage of this kind is that it tastes like peanut butter fudge! When you're finished playing with the play dough you can either eat it or store it in an airtight plastic bag.
- Paper Plates aren't just something to eat off of. Try some of our fun Paper Plate Crafts in your own kitchen!
- Kids love experimenting with paints and colors, so let's try Napkin Tie Dyes. Begin by filling three or more bowls with food coloring diluted in water. Give your child a white paper napkin and have her fold it in-half a couple of times. As your child improves her tie dye skills, she may want to try twisting the napkin or folding it differently. Next, have your child dip each corner of the napkin into a different color of dye. Unfold the napkin and let it dry before displaying.
- Ever wore a necklace you can eat? Cereals like Cheerios or Fruit Loops can easily be strung together to make edible Cereal Necklaces. Give your child a 12" piece of yarn. For easier stringing, wrap a small piece of tape on one end and tie a cereal loop to the other end. Show your child how to string on loops to make an edible necklace.
Don't forget that the kitchen can be a dangerous place, full of sharp objects, electrical appliances, and cleaning chemicals. Follow these safety tips whenever you're in the kitchen with your kids:
Kool Kitchen Kurriculum, Part II
...Teaching Math & Science in the Kitchen!