As cooking is an essential life skill, teaching children from a young age will give them the foundations to love cooking. It will also provide them them with knowledge of healthy choices and where food comes from. Children of different ages can join in cooking experiences. Following simple recipes will give children the opportunity to develop new skills. Ensuring a risk assessment highlighting any health and safety factors should be completed prior to cooking with children.
There are many opportunities for interacting with the children during cooking session, the experience can be a simple or as detailed as it needs to be, it can involve little or lots of mess. The whole experience is about giving children a fun learning learning that will help contribute to their learning and development.
Some hints and tips
1 Plan ahead
It is always best to plan ahead and be prepared. Carry out a risk assessment prior to starting your cooking session, as you may have children who have allergies or you may be using some electrical equipment. Ensure that children can not get their hands on anything they shouldn’t. Supervision is highly important, having those extra pair of hands is always good to help support the little ones.
2.Keep the recipe simple ( differentiate this according to children’ age and stage of development)
Children are never to young to learn about food, therefore keep your recipe simple and differentiate it if needs be. Cooking with children can help develop their understanding of healthy food and it can also support many areas of their development such a their language, maths, understanding of the world as well as developing their fine and gross motor skills.
3. Extended learning
It is important not to forget to teach children about where food comes from eg from the ground, the trees and from animals. To help children understand this gather together some items of food such as fruits, tins, pasta, and ask them where the food comes from. This activity may introduce lots of language and exchange many conversations.