In many households, the kitchen is the centre hub of most daily activities. Cooking with children not only includes them in these important family experiences, but encourages their interest in preparing food, developing healthy eating habits, improving life skills, and so much more!
With so many children exposed to family programs, such as Masterchef and Masterchef Juniors, we thought we’d bring their expressed interest in cooking competitions to life at Parfrey Road Education & Childcare, with our very own Masterchef Kindy Mystery Box experience!
The benefits of this exciting classroom event is endless. However, we decided to identify a few major advantages that we could focus on and encourage the children to fully experience during, and after the big cook up.
1. Cultivating an Interest in Food and Healthy Choices
Cooking with the children gives us the chance to introduce them to fresh, healthy food and interesting ways of cooking it. During our Masterchef Kindy learning experience, we were able encourage discussions, such as:
- Where foods come from
- How to get food ready for cooking – for example, washing and peeling veggies
- The difference between various foods
- How and why various foods are good for us
2. Progressing their Self Help Skills, Interdependence & Responsibility
Even as adults, cooking and similar activities involve time and patience. So, while we ensure that each task meets our Kindy kid’s skillset and attention spans, we also encourage them to push themesves and help where they can. This includes:
- Following instructions in the recipe and doing things step by step
- Waiting patiently for others to get a turn and for the food to be prepared
- Serving food to others before serving ourselves
- Cleaning and washing up afterwards
3. Exlporing their Sensory Skills
Becoming a better cook involves using ALL the senses. Encouraging the children to do so is quite fun and really allows them to make interesting observations, as well as make their own choices during the cooking process. We encourage them to:
- Describe what different foods look like, feel like and even smell like
- Make descisions based off these observations and feelings
4. Developing Better Communication Skills
No matter what children go on to do in the future, being a strong communicator is invaluable when building personal and professional relationships. Through our mini Rochedale Childcare Masterchef, everyone’s able to practice:
- Listening to and following instructions
- Giving instructions politely and clearly
- Identifing new words – for example, whisk, peel, egg beater, grater
- Expressing our thoughts and feelings through words
5. Building Early Maths Skills
Sometimes understanding mathematical concepts, such as shape, size, and basic measurements can be difficult. That’s why being exposed to maths early is critical for future success. During the cooking process, we:
- Discuss how much time is needed to prepare something – for example 30 mins
- Improve our understanding of measuring – for example, one half, one teaspoon, etc
- Discuss the various sizes and shapes of our cooking tools – for example large bowl, small whisk etc.
We absolutely LOVE this learning experience and we encourage all families to involve your children in the kitchen and the cooking process at home. As they start to be able to make menu suggestions, choose their own foods for mealtimes, and even help do the dishes, why not get them involved!
Yours in Education & Childcare,
The Rochedale Early Birds Team