One of the most important teaching moments for a child starts in the kitchen. Food is one of the few essential elements that is REQUIRED to live!
The ability to read and follow the directions of a recipe are a must. Measurements can seem foreign and converting units could be difficult but just like anything else… practice makes perfect.
Although some may be more gifted than others, we can all follow recipes that are just a few short clicks away.
This post will focus on the importance of learning to cook, the benefits, and will include a FUN & SIMPLE recipe that kids will LOVE to try! The recipe is located at the end of this post.
For more FUN & SIMPLE learning activities check out our recent posts HERE!
The Importance of Teaching Kids to Cook
I think it goes without saying that food is an essential element of survival. We live in a world, however, where there are plenty of pre-made items that eliminate cooking altogether.
It is another pretty well known fact that a lot of these pre-made foods can fall under the “unhealthy” category.
According to Heart.org, 1 in 3 kids in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese. This heavy statistic mentions that overweight or obese children have nearly tripled since 1963! … Meaning this issue is only getting worse!
Health issues involving overweight or obese individuals include but are not limited to:
- Heart Disease (#1 cause of death as of 2016)
- Stroke (#2 cause of death as of 2016)
- Diabetes (#7 cause of death as of 2016)
- Cancer (Top 10 cause of death and climbing)
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
According to John Hopkins, people who focus on cooking in the home tend to be healthier individuals than those who do not. Homemade recipes typically require fresh ingredients opposed to processed foods.
Kids who learn at an early age how to read and execute a recipe are more likely to avoid many long term issues including those specified above!
So… take some time to teach those little ones how to take over in the kitchen! Who knows… they might have a natural talent for it!
For more learning activities for TODDLERS click HERE!
The Benefits of Teaching Kids to Cook
Again, the benefits might seem obvious at this point… but I want to take a step back from the typical “cooking = healthy lifestyle” and really dive down into some other benefits.
A HUGE benefit that comes from learning to cook are the important MATH CONCEPTS kids learn! Here is what I’m talking about…
As a 3rd grade teacher part of our math curriculum covers fractions. This may be one of the toughest math skills for these young kids to grasp.
Unfortunately, quite a few students struggle with mathematics in general but fractions seem to be the “Mt. Everest” of it all!
As a teacher I try my best to apply life skills into the difficult topics surrounding education to help young minds “click” towards understanding these concepts. Fractions surround us… and sometimes we don’t even realize it.
Making these connections for kids is a great way to help them overcome these mental road blocks in learning.
So… where in the world am I going with this?
Teaching your kids how to cook is the perfect way to introduce them to FRACTIONS! Think about it… a recipe will call for 1/4 of this, 1/2 of that, 2/3 of that. This is a great way to get their “feet wet” with what seems to be complicated concepts.
Other benefits of reading and executing a recipe include:
- Promotes Healthy Eating
- Converting units (conversion factors)
- Fine motor skills
- Encourage creativity
- Scientific concepts
- Expand vocabulary
- Reading comprehension
I think that it’s safe to say that teaching kids to cook can be one of the most important skills for a parent to teach at home.
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Teaching Kids to Cook
Now that I shared why it is important & beneficial to teach kids how to cook, I think it is time to put it the test!
Here are some of the best and most affordable cookbooks for kids that they will absolutely LOVE! Unlike many recipes that you will find online… these cookbooks are specifically written to help KIDS!
From my experience in the classroom… if the kids are engaged and having FUN then they will succeed in whatever they put their minds to. These FUN & SIMPLE books will ensure that they do just that!
The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs was awarded as the #1 New York Times best seller! It contains many great recipes for kids along with great instructions and tips.
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook contains 150+ recipes that kids will LOVE! Try some of the favorites straight from the series and test your culinary skills!
The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs is another #1 best seller that aims towards baked goods. 100+ recipes designed for kids to test their skills!
Zhuri James daughter of basketball star LeBron James has recently released a cooking video in her youtube channel “All Things Zhuri.” Watch the video of this cute 5 year old making No Bake Peanut Butter Power Balls with her dad!
Not only is this recipe SIMPLE for kids but is a super HEALTHY snack for little ones!
Check it out below!!
- 2 cups Oats
- 1/2 cup Peanut butter
- 1/4 cup Chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup Flaxseed
- 2 tbsp. Chia seeds
- 2 tbsp. Raw honey
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix well. Pack the mixture into about 1 inch balls or use a small ice cream scooper.
To better help kids with converting units in the kitchen I have created a FREE printable!
The more practice kids have using these different measurements the less they will have to rely on this awesome conversion chart!
Feel free to comment below with some of your favorite “kid friendly recipes!”
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