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The idea of cooking with children might fill you with horror, what with the mess, the organisation, the dangers and the unappetising results, but, with a little planning, careful thought and a bit of patience, you can all have a fulfilling and fun time in the kitchen.
Cooking actually covers various areas of the EYFS development programme and so it is a great focus activity.
- Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy - count, weigh and measure ingredients together.
- Physical Development - health and bodily awareness when talking about healthy foods and using new and exotic tools to cook with.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development - great sense of achievement when it's finished; personal hygiene when washing hands and preparing and learning about safety in a kitchen.
While cooking: Show your children the recipe and get all the ingredients ready in advance. Guide and direct the children through the cooking and keep them engaged so they don't get distracted and do their own thing. Use tools and bowls that are the appropriate size so they feel in control and able to do the task. Allow them to do as much as you can themselves without endangering them. Talk about the dangers and hot areas to avoid (oven, hob etc). Encourage them to help clear up and taste the food afterwards.
Why should they cook?
- Introduce new foods and ways of eating.
- Explain how foods and meals are made.
- They learn numbers, counting and measuring.
- They have to listen to instructions and carry the instructions out.
- They have to understand sequencing - you have to break the egg before you whisk it!
- They can make some great creations!
- It's fun!