Cooking and baking are two truly great kids activities – some of the best out there, really! I love that all four of my kids enjoy cooking and baking with me. Spending time with my kids in the kitchen is a great opportunity to bond with my kids, and they learn a lot about math, science, and healthy eating in the process!
Benefits of Cooking and Baking for Kids
Cooking and baking teaches kids so many great things! Here are a few benefits of cooking and baking for kids:
- STEM Cooking and baking are two of the most extensive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math activities out there! Kids learn about science as they see ingredients transformed into a dessert of dinner dish. They use technology to heat, bake, and even chop food. And creating a dish (or dessert) from raw ingredients is engineering – or tinkering, as we often describe engineering for kids. Next time you bake or cook together, set aside some of the food and try adding a secret ingredient that your child suggests. How does it change the dish? Last but not least, baking and cooking involves a lot of measuring and counting – important math skills!
- Health consciousness It’s hard to explain to a child why we want them to eat one thing and not another when they don’t understand the process that goes into creating the food they eat. Cooking and baking breaks food into basic ingredients, and having the final product broken down like this makes kids much more aware of what they are putting into their mouths, and why.
- Gross motor skills Cooking and baking usually requires some stirring, chopping, and grating and this helps kids develop gross motor skills. My kids also enjoy carrying ingredients for dishes that they have planned into the house after going grocery shopping – another great gross motor activity for children.
- Fine motor skills Measuring small quantities of ingredients, such as spices, is a great way for kids to practice their fine motor skills! Let them measure the ingredient over a plate when they are first starting out so that they don’t have to stress too much about spilling.
- Responsibility My kids love planning out a meal, and I have noticed that the surest way to get my kids to try new foods is to have them cook those foods themselves!
- Self-confidence Kids realize that cooking and baking are both complex activities that take a lot of planning, organizing, and careful work to complete successfully. Going through these steps successfully builds self-confidence.
- Learning it’s okay to make mistakes Sometimes things go wrong in the kitchen. We mix the wrong ingredients, or a recipe just does not turn out the way we expected. Cooking and baking are wonderful ways to practice working through mistakes.
- Parent-child bonding I saved this for last, because it’s my favorite – and, really, the most important piece of this list! My kids thrive on working as my peer in the kitchen. I love the space this creates for them to tell me what is on their mind, and to learn and grow together.
The photos in this post are from a fun baking session Lily and I enjoyed yesterday – we made my favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. The photo above captures the fun we had together! The cookies were delicious, and when we picked Emma and Johnny up from school later that afternoon it was so fun to hear her proudly tell them that there were cookies waiting at home – cookies she baked!
Do you have a favorite dish that you enjoy making with your kids?