Why teach your child to cook.

Cooking with your children is a great way to help them learn and develop. As well as being a lot of fun. It is also time consuming and messy, very very messy when you first start. But all the negatives far out way the positives.

Yes, you will have to be careful, and young children should always be supervised in the kitchen, but it can help them learn so much more than you might have first thought.

I cook with my grandsons often. They enjoy creating new and wonderful dishes for everyone to enjoy.

We all love watching cooking programmes and buying all those cook books? Let's face it, a lot of people nowadays are not confident in the kitchen. That's not our fault. At one time you would have learnt all your brilliant family recipes from your parents or grandparents. You would have been helping in the kitchen from a very young age. Your food would have been healthier.

So what happened!

Well our mothers and grandmothers went outside the home to work. Instead of their job being inside the home, it was outside the home. They had less time to cook from scratch. The birth of the convienence food had arrived.

In the 50's and 60's there were all kinds of ready meals to tempt you. They were so easy to prepare at the end of a long day at work. COOKING FROM SCRATCH - who had time to do that. It was the start of children learning from their parents how NOT to cook.

We all know that processed foods are not very good for our health. Most of the time they don't even taste that nice. We all know it is our children that might suffer from diet related illnesses in the future. But what can we do?

Yes, we still have very busy lives. But we need to make some time to give our children the skills they will need to be healthy adults and be able to make their own food choices that are not dictated by the food industry.

Read more to find out how cooking with your child can help with a lot more than just their health.

It's never too early to start encouraging your child to have the confidence to be a great cook. Very young children can watch as you cook. You can talk about the names of the fruit, veg and meat as you prepare your food. The tools you use in the kitchen from the knives to the blenders will be fascinating for your child. Your toddler will begin to learn how things work.

Watching ingredients being prepared and mixed together and then seeing the end result as those items change after cooking is leading to Science inquiry.

You have to always make sure that your children are safe when cooking with you.

It's not going to be stress free, and most of the time it is going to be messy - but it will be fun.

* Social and Emotional Development -

Cooking helps build confidence and skills. The act of following a recipe encourages your child to be independent and self directed. You have to solve problems when you cook and you have to learn how to follow directions.

* Physical Development -

Things like hand-eye coordination are honed by mixing, squeezing, spreading and chopping.

* Language Development -

Cooking gives you a chance to discuss what you are doing. Talk about how things change and what happens to ingredients when they are mixed together and cooked.

* Maths -

One to one correspondence - number concepts - addition - measurement and simple fractions are needed when cooking.

* Science - Life Science

(Where does food come from?) - Physical Science (Changing forms - liquids, solids and gasses) - and making predictions and observations.

Let's get back in the kitchen and show children how to look after themselves when their adults. You only need to cook with your child once a week to make a difference to their learning. You never know, they might one day surprise you with a three course meal that you can just sit back and enjoy.

Below is the guidelines for learning for the under 5's. All these points an be covered by cooking.

EYFS guidelines for under 5's.

Here is a brief look at some of those guidelines from the EYFS.

8 months to 20 months ------ Pays attention to dominant stimulus.

Understands single words in context.

Uses single words.

Picks up small objects between thumb and fingers.

16 months to 26 months ----- Understands simple sentences.

Beginning to put 2 words together.

Develops own likes and dislikes in food and drink.

Willing to try new food and textures.

22 months to 36 months ----- Understands more complex sentences.

Developing understanding of simple concepts

Shows control in holding and using jugs etc.

Begins to make comparisons between quantities.

Uses some language of quantities.

Knows that a group of things changes in quantity

Begin to use the language of size.

Understands some talk about immediate past and

30 months to 50 months ---- Listens to others in small groups or one to one

Focusing attention. Is able to follow directions.

Understands the use of objects (rolling pin, knife)

Show understanding of prepositions

Responds to simple instruction.

Beginning to use more complex sentences.

Builds up vocabulary.

Can select resources with help.

Welcomes and values praise.

Uses one handed tools -uses scissors to cut up veg

Can usually manage washing and drying hands.

Beginning to be interested in texture of things.

Use number names and number language.

Know that numbers represent how many objects

Comparing two groups of objects.

40 months to 60 months ---- Maintains attention -

Responds to instructions involving a two-parts

Aware of boundaries set, and of behaviour

Uses simple tools to effect changes to materials.

Handles tools and objects with increasing control.

Eats a healthy range of foodstuffs.

Shows understanding of the need for safety.

Begins to read words and simple sentences.

In practical activities talks about add/subtract.

Orders two or three items by weight or capacity.

Uses everyday language related to time.

Measures short periods of time in simple ways.

Enjoys joining in with family customs and routines.

I will be adding more and more recipes to my website as soon as I can. You will also be able to print out a child friendly version of the recipe that a slightly older child can read for themselves. I suggest you laminate the recipes so that sticky fingers can use them more than once.

I am also going to try to work on a picture version of the recipe so that pre-readers can follow.

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