Yesterday, I overheard an interesting conversation between my 5-year-old son and my husband. My son said that he wished he knew how to do magic tricks because “that would be really cool”. My husbands response was great. He said that cooking is like performing a magic trick. I had never quite thought of it like that but he was so right!
Think about it: if you lay out all the ingredients that go into something like chocolate chip cookies, it’s hard to imagine what the end result will be when all you see is a pile of powder and slimy eggs. But, as you slowly mix your “magic potion” together and place the dough in the oven, after a short time, “poof”, out pop these fluffy, delicious tasting cookies!
Beyond the fact that my kids might now see themselves as magicians when they help me cook, I have discovered 10 more awesome, life-enhancing skills and qualities that are promoted when I spend time cooking with my kids:
- Familiarization with numbers: from the youngest, who’s 2 (well, my youngest is 9 months but he’s too young to cook yet), to my oldest, who’s 5, we can practice counting how many “scoops” of flour need to go into the bowl (it also helps me not lose track…which has happened a lot).
- Goal setting: This is important for people of all ages! Our goal here is to make the recipe. The instructions within the recipe are the steps we need to take to reach our goal. Remind the kids of this as you work together through the process.
- Teamwork/taking turns: Each of us have our role in the recipe making process and the kids learn that they need to let others have a turn pouring the ingredients into the bowl. My oldest often keeps track of who’s turn it is next (super important so as to avoid any unnecessary tantrums).
- Communication: As I mentioned above, everyone should get a turn and so it’s important that we politely communicate (as opposed to screaming) whose turn it is and also which ingredients we are adding next.
- Reading:My oldest is just learning to read, so this is a great opportunity for him to practice! I often have him read the instructions to us as we go through the recipe.
- Math Concepts: Though my children are all small and have no true grasp of fractions, I still try to teach them anyway. Their eyes glaze over when I use the word “fraction” so instead we talk about how many parts equal one cup (4–so each of us get to pour something in).
- Quality family time: Though cooking may sometimes feel like a chore when I do it alone, it becomes a fun family activity when the kids are involved, and they certainly don’t view cooking with mommy as a boring chore. They love it!
- Responsibility/Life Skills: Knowing how to cook is a very important life skill: one that will help them live a healthier and more cost effective life style. Teaching your children how to cook while they are young will only make them better at it once they are out on their own.
- Confidence building: Along with that, cooking with your kids builds their confidence. They see that they successfully accomplished a goal and their end product can be enjoyed by everyone! Which leads me to the last but not least….
- Food: One of the greatest parts of this whole process is the delicious food that will result from the cooking process. The kids are more likely to eat and enjoy the meal, as well, since they made it!
Knowing all the powerful benefits that come from cooking with your kids, it’s now time to put it to the test. If you are still unsure about the whole process, read our 7 Tips for Stress Free Cooking with Kids article to help you get started.
Remember that you are creating great memories by doing something together and building up your children’s confidence through helping them accomplish a goal. So, now that you are armed with some great reasons to involve your children in the cooking process, go out, grab a spatula, and start cooking!
Can you think of some more great benefits? Add them in our comments section below!
P.S. Here’s a video we made of us making homemade Lara bars.