Children naturally show more interest when it comes to kitchen, there is that urge in them to work. They always tend to come forward to participate, look for opportunities to be there. And I believe that kitchen is a place where a child has ‘n’ number of opportunities for hands on learning. Here are 5 ways to involve children in the kitchen, 18 different ideas.
- put away groceries – sort and name food after you are back from the grocery store (vegetables, fruits, dairy products, pulses, spices)
- Talk about size, colour, texture, odour. Help the child understand different textures, odours (in some groceries). Size of vegetables and fruits(big/small), size of packets, size of cans (tall/short, narrow/wide). A talk about opposites.
- Let the child observe while you cook, talk about how the food changes as you cook. For example: “what happens to a tomato?” “What happens to an egg when you boil?”
2. Games to play:
- name the appliances and their uses, talk about what type of appliance like electric and non-electric.
- Look around the kitchen and ask your child to find things based on shapes/colours/texture. For example: find something that is circle, something that is soft.
- Find it: I see something, and give clues. Child gets to look around and find the item that matches your description. For example: “I see something that is cylindrical in shape” wait for the child to respond, then go for the next clue “It is half empty” and so on (here: storage container)
- Smell/taste and find: as you cook you can let the child smell the spices and guess what it is. Also let them taste and name it. Sour, sweet, salty, what tastes sour/sweet…? And so on.
- Guess the measurement: how many numbers of spoons does it take to fill a cup with water/rice. Count and fill.
3. Handle dishes:
- Let the child help you set the table, help them to handle the dishes – how to handle a glassware, how to handle/use a serveware, ladle.
- Organizing and placement: where should the napkin be, where should a glass of water be placed on a table while you set the table.
4. Meal Preparation:
- Let the child help in preparing snacks, to start off with. (Bread toast, bread and jam, pour a glass of milk, peel a banana/egg/potatoes).
- Make salads: mixing and stirring.
- Wash vegetables and fruits
- Cut soft food with a child safe knife. (banana, paneer)
- Beat the egg, put things into a blender (smoothie/juice), crack eggs
- Let the child help in measuring ingredients. Measuring cups, tablespoon, teaspoon, how many pieces. And talk about the weight of ingredient.
5. Clean Up
- Help in cleaning the table after the meal: put the dishes away, wipe the table
- Help in wipe and clean the dishes after a wash.
- Observation skills
- Sensory development
- Language development
- Motor and life skills
- Leadership skills
- Ability to question
- Knowledge development
- Understanding time (time management)
Most importantly the special bond that develops, between you and the child, with the family.