Cooking with toddlers and preschoolers can take patience, time and probably more of a clean up effort then you always have energy for. The numerous outcomes and benefits of allowing little ones to experience cooking though, can make the whole mess of an experience well worth it!
Benefits of Cooking with Little Ones:
- Promotes adventurous and healthy eating habits – allowing toddlers and preschoolers to be a part of the meal preparation process can lead to them being more invested in the food you are asking them to eat. Picky eaters beware! You may try new foods…and like it!
- Builds language skills – talking as you make a recipe and describing or showing what you’re doing can introduce new words to a child’s vocabulary.
- Helps develop fine motor skills and hand eye coordination – stirring, measuring, pouring, tearing, rolling, squeezing, etc. – each of these tasks are fun ways for children to help in the kitchen while also practicing important developmental skills.
- Builds confidence – cooking provides many unique opportunities to help a child build their self-esteem. From congratulating a child on a job well done to showing them that they can accomplish a seemingly complicated task by simply breaking it down into smaller achievable steps, creating a meal is something tangible a child can see through from start to finish.
- It fun! – cooking, much like gardening, is fun for so many reasons, but one of the most fun things about working with food is that, you get to eat it!
So, when there is food in everyone’s hair, a sticky something on the counter, and more ingredients on the floor then in the bowl, try to remember number 5 on the list!
Feeling inspired? Try some of SYG’s favorite summer recipes:
Strawberry Basil Popsicles – Watch the video on our Schoolyard Gardens YouTube channel linked below!
Happy gardening and happy cooking!