There are many benefits to teaching your child how to cook at a young age – aside from learning an important life skill. It gives them confidence by teaching them how to properly use a knife, it teaches them to follow a recipe and understand measurements, it helps them to better understand nutrition, it expands their palate and makes them more likely to try new things, and it even provides them (and you) quality time spent with family instead of staring at a screen.
So with all these positive outcomes, why are cooking courses not traditionally taught in school?
Kitchen safety is a common concern when discussing kids in the kitchen. Sharp knives, operating an oven, or the worries of oil heating up on a stove are all extremely valid concerns. However, keeping them out of the kitchen creates a more scary scenario for when they get older. Teaching them proper kitchen safety and supervising them from a young age teaches them the dangers and how to avoid injury at a later date. When they learn these techniques young, they are more equipped when they are grown, and maybe even sparks an interest in becoming a culinary genius or future nutritionist.
Instead of allowing your kids to sit watching TV or playing video games for hours on end, getting them involved in the kitchen is also a great way to let them know the time and effort cooking requires. It is not an easy task for parents to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for their family every day. Allowing your kids to be a part of the process will help them to appreciate the food on the table each day, and even will give them a sense of pride for the plates they serve.
The value of learning about different ingredients and cultures is also a great lesson for involving kids in the cooking process. This will teach them the value of food, where they come from, and allows them to apply geographical education in where food comes from and what types of food are distinguished by the country of origin. Involving them in the shopping process is also a valuable lesson as they learn about different ingredients – maybe even shopping local at various farmer’s markets and shops.
It is important to think about how to make cooking safe and challenging for your child as they progress skill-wise and age-wise. If they are starting young, maybe having them stir and mix is appropriate and as they grow you can introduce measuring or chopping herbs with a butter knife. Small steps will help them feel more comfortable until they are ready to work with the oven or stove. You know your child best and as long as you are around to supervise they will be safe by your instructions.
Although cooking with kids can get pretty messy, with a little bit of patience it can be a fun and educational activity for them. From measuring ingredients to learning from their mistakes, cooking with kids is a great way to build an important life skill that also builds character. Soon they may be making their own lunches for school! With most families stuck indoors during the pandemic, what better time to help them learn, create family memories, and make a delicious dinner for everyone to enjoy.
Debunk the stigma and get your kids excited about fresh vegetables. Instead of ordering pizza once again, get the whole family involved and make a meal and memories all at once.
At Green Schools Green Future, our mission is to build schools around the world that are educational and sustainable. Part of our curriculum is having an open kitchen that provides opportunities for children to learn different cooking techniques – through our vertical farm and aquaponics – so they can grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This gives them the chance to experience green living and creates self-sustaining individuals who build healthy lifestyles by providing their bodies with the energy and nutrients to live their best life.
If you are interested in learning more about our sustainability goals or would like to donate to the cause, please visit www.greenschoolsgreenfuture.org.
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Written by Cassandra Briscoe