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chocolate chip cookies
friends birthdays
measuring cup
little boys
hallway
parents
Cooking With Kids Serves Up Math Geniuses
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Cooking With Kids Serves Up Math Geniuses

I read my son’s daily report from daycare the other day and it said that they mixed all the ingredients to make cupcakes for one of their friends’ birthdays. At first, I thought it sounded like just a different and creative activity for the kids to experience. I then caught the lead teacher for his room in the hallway and mentioned how creative the idea to make cupcakes was. She said all the kids did love the different experience, but that it also helped develop their math skills. Math skills, really? She then pointed out how the teachers gave all the kids (a good mix of 3-5 year olds) specific instructions to measure out each ingredient. Filling the measuring cup half way meant that there was a “half a cup” of sugar. I went home that night (with both little boys in tow) thinking of how else cooking with kids helps develop math skills.

What a great way to teach what portions look like and even touch on fractions! Using a 1-cup measuring cup and telling the kids to fill it to only the “1/2” mark gave them a perfect picture of what “half” looks like. Us parents, I think, sometimes take things like that for granted because we have known what “half” looks like longer that we would like to admit. We forget that kids need to learn “half” at some point, or “full” or “a quarter”. Cooking with kids is the perfect way to teach them that and they don’t even realize they are learning something.

Another idea hit me - the cooking time of so many minutes could help them understand how long that time felt. This is another skill or lesson that many parents seem to forget has to be taught to kids at some point. I tell my son all the time that he has 5 more minutes on the computer or dinner will be ready in 10 minutes. I realize now that when I said those things to him, he had no idea how long 5 or 10 minutes felt. He would just wait for me to tell him when it was. Using something like delicious smelling chocolate chip cookies baking (he really paid attention because of the treat he knew was in the oven) as a way to teach him how long 10 was and, more importantly, felt worked like a charm! And all I had to do was set aside time for cooking with kids (which is so much fun in itself).

The timer on the oven showed the minutes counting down too. That could turn into a discussion about subtraction. It could go something like this: “We started with 10 minutes and the timer says 7 minutes, so how many minutes have gone by?”.

The measuring also visually shows addition and subtraction. When cooking with kids, you can give them an easy to hold, spouted (easier pouring) cup to pour milk into the measuring cup. You tell them you need 1 cup of milk. They pour some in. Then ask them if they have less or more than 1 cup. If they have less, tell them they need to “add” more. If they have too much, tell them to “take some away” or “subtract” some until the milk reaches the 1 cup mark on the measuring cup.

I plan on talking to my son’s teacher about any other math skills she has heard of that are learned from cooking with kids. If I just came up with these few, I’m sure educators, especially ones working with 3-5 year olds, have researched this much more than me and have come up with many more ways weave math lessons into cooking. Yeah sure, it can get pretty messy, but I’ll take a flour coated floor over a mud pie any day.

What better recipes to have your kids help you make? Well, their favorite restaurant recipes, of course. Image making those yummy cheddar biscuits or chocolate chip brownie sundae cooking with kids. They already want to eat it because they helped make it, but also because they've had it before at that restaurant they went to for their birthday.


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saliman  

Nice and quite interesting

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  about 1 decade ago
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