Cooking is a great opportunity for kids to build literacy as well as math and science skills. You can improve reading skills while looking at recipes, expand vocabulary with new words, write grocery lists together and sing songs about food. Math and science skills can be developed through measurements, telling time, or making observations and predictions.
There are some wonderful picture books that include recipes at the end. Bubbi and Rivka’s Best Ever Challah is a story of a girl and her grandma learning to cook together and has a message about perseverance and learning from mistakes. The recipe is broken down into adult tasks and kid tasks to help you make the most of the experience. In Dumplings for Lili you get a peek at what every grandma in the building is cooking as Lili is sent to borrow ingredients from one after another. Then you can enjoy making bao together. Bilal Cooks Daal demonstrates another skill involved in cooking: patience! Daal takes a long time to make, but as Bilal’s friends discover, it’s worth it.
Ask questions and talk as you prepare the ingredients. Describing how the colors and smells change is a great way to practice descriptive vocabulary, plus you can explain that color and smell help you know when the food is done. Try a blind taste test to practice words related to texture and flavor, such as creamy, crunchy, lumpy, spicy, bitter or sweet. See if they can guess whether the food is vegetable, fruit, meat, grain or dairy.
While you’re waiting for your dough to rise or your daal to cook you can learn a song about food. Green Zuchini is a fun song that also helps kids learn the parts of the body. You can change up the song to include other types of food too! If you’re having meatballs, maybe you’d like to sing On top of Spaghetti together. Taco Tuesday will be the best night of the week when you get to dance with Lucky Diaz and the Family Band. Or you can get a taste of Filipino culture with Little Miss Ann’s song Ubi.
- Crystal (Downtown)