The benefits of cooking and baking with your kids

The SA 21-day lockdown starts tonight at midnight. Here’s why you should get the kids in the kitchen during that time!

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Kids have been home from school for a while already due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re not already at a loss as to how to keep your kids busy and entertained without resorting to plonking them in front of the TV all day, you will be soon when the lockdown starts at midnight tonight.

Well, how about getting them cooking and baking in the kitchen? According to a recent article in The New York Times, cooking is a way to talk to youngsters about health, healthy ingredients and healthy eating. It can also bring families closer together.

Donna Verrydt, organiser of the children’s national cooking competition Taste Bud Battle, says: “Getting kids in the kitchen provides them with practical experience with many essential skills, and cooking as a family brings everyone together and creates a bonding experience.”

ALSO SEE: Surviving the coronavirus school holidays

What are the other benefits of cooking and baking with your kids in the kitchen?

  • It increases language development, since kids are not only learning and talking about different ingredients, but also following recipe directions which enhances receptive language skills.
  • It enhances fine motor skills. Mixing ingredients, rolling dough and using cookie cutters are all great ways to enhance a child’s fine motor strength and control, which are needed to develop academic skills such as writing, cutting and colouring-in.

Click here for a easy cookie dough recipe.

  • It increases maths skills given that cooking and baking involves a lot of measurement such as cups, teaspoons and tablespoons, as well as fractions and addition and subtraction proficiency.
  • It improves reading skills since children have to read the recipes, and it also helps enhance reading comprehension.
  • It introduces children to scientific concepts as they learn what happens when certain ingredients are mixed together as well as what happens when the measurements are incorrect.
  • It increases focus and attention otherwise the recipe they are following will result in the final product not turning out correctly. Kids learn quickly that they have to pay attention if they want to eat that delicious tasting brownie they wanted to make.
  • It teaches life skills and safety lessons such as how to be an independent adult and not to touch a hot stove or how to use a knife correctly.
  • It boosts self-confidence. When a child is able to successfully complete a recipe and create a tasty, good-looking dish, they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment and it enhances their self-esteem.

Visit www.tastebudbattle.co.za for more info on the competition. This year there are 4 age categories: pre-primary (ages 4 and 5); junior primary (ages 6 – 9); primary (10 – 13) and high school (ages 14 – 19). 

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