Cooking with Kids: Real-life Math and Reading

Cooking with kids inspires learning

Hi there! I am Margaux and am very excited to be a here. I have a four year old daughter, Lisa, and my son, Ben, is one. I stopped teaching after Ben was born to be with him full time, and I’m loving absolutely every minute of it! Today, I want to share with you how I use baking with kids to work on educational concepts. 

I’m not sure how it is in your home, but there is nothing that can suppress a bad mood better than the words “Let’s cook!” The other day my daughter woke in a foul mood, and when I say foul, I mean “don’t look at me, don’t speak to me” kind of mood. My in-laws were visiting and to alleviate the possibility of judgement, I needed to think of a mood-lifter. Quickly! A quick scratch in the pantry and I found IT! I flashed the packet of Jell-O in front of my daughter and low-and-behold, she followed me to the kitchen and all traces of “the mood” disappeared in an instant as she mixed away.

Learning Math Skills while Cooking with kids

Now, cooking has more benefits than just lifting a mood. It plays a large role in Mathematics and Number Concept.  Measuring, weighing, counting and basic operations all form part of the process of conjuring something up in the kitchen. We live in South Africa and use the Metric system rather than the Imperial / U.S. system, which often requires a conversion to take place before a measurement can be made. Baking offers the perfect opportunity to investigate both systems. I have downloaded a free app on my phone, which comes in handy for conversions.

Learning Language Skills while Cooking with Kids

girl with whisk

Language is developed through identifying/reading new words and ingredients in the recipe and following a systematic process. My daughter loves recalling the ingredients and amounts once everything has been added to the mixture – it is her way of checking we have not missed anything. I am sometimes astounded by the long list she is able to rattle off (must be because the list has meaning and she can identify with each ingredient). We always spend some time talking about the ingredients. I tend to assist the discussion by raising some of the following points (depending on what the ingredient is):  What is it made of? Where does it come from? Can it be eaten raw? This touches on the Natural and Social Sciences.  

precschooler with rolling pin

My daughter is going through a “I can do it” stage, so her favorite recipes are those she can do by herself with minimal input from me. I try to remain calm and ignore the mess.

Decorating a dish while cooking

The photos are of her making our favourite dessert, “Lemon Crunch”.  As you can see, the decorating took place after her bath – it was the incentive – and there is evidence that tasting took place.

Recipe for lemon crunch

Grab this recipe by clicking on the image below. (I have included the Metric and U.S. systems.)

Wow, the learning possibilities are endless!  Plus, baking offers my daughter and me some bonding “girly” time. I have compiled a set of our favorite “No bake” recipes (or “I can do it myself” recipes) for those who are daring enough to face the mess.   I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this post and hope that you have enjoyed reading it just as much!

baking with kids Featured Image

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