Finding new and engaging ways to nurture children’s development is part of the role of an early childhood educator. Working in child care you get to explore how you can show children new experiences and enhance their learning, imagination or skills in the process.
Cooking with children is an excellent way to do this. It’s fun, simple and full of valuable experiences — not to mention delicious (hopefully)!
Here are five ways that cooking can help nurture the development of the children in your care.
Three cups of milk… Two eggs… One and a half tablespoons of coconut… It’s no surprise that cooking can incorporate some easy maths for young children. Get them involved in the fun by counting things out where possible.
Cooking involves more science than you may realise. Encourage children to notice the changing textures when you’re combining ingredients. They can watch as heat makes solids turn into liquids. And see how cold can make liquids turn into solids. What about seeing cakes rise as they bake?! For early childhood aged children you won’t want to make it too complicated, but it’s still a fascinating learning experience for them.
Fine motor skills
Chopping, beating, stirring, mixing, shaking, rolling, pouring – the list of physical skills children can work on while cooking is endless! Develop children’s fine motor skills through whipping up something tasty. Make it a sensory experience by encouraging children to touch the ingredients, smell them and even have a taste.
Language and literacy
Cooking offers the chance to share lots of new words with children. Melt, whisk, roll, stir – look out for any opportunity to work on saying these words while learning the concepts. Children can also practise identifying the words in recipes and on ingredients like eggs, sugar, flour and milk.
Developing an understanding of cooking and perhaps even a love of it is a valuable life skill. We should all learn to cook at some stage in life, so why not lay the foundations of this while children are young? Through cooking we can learn about health and nutrition and how to best take care of our bodies to lead happy, healthy lives.
If you’re not working in child care yet but you can’t wait to start, Practical Outcomes is the best place to do it. Come and see our child care courses and get ready for a career you will love.