Unlock the Fun and Teach Valuable Skills All In One Room of Your Home

Photo by Hannah Tasker on Unsplash

 

Right about now, most parents are running out of things for the kids to do during this extended period away from school.

You’ve used up all the craft supplies, found every educational activity possible online, and sent them outside to play – if you’ve had good weather (something many of us have not!).

But there may be one room in your home that you haven’t fully explored – and it can be a place for learning, creativity, and fun for the whole family.

We’re talking about the kitchen — and whether you like to cook or dread the idea of trying to think up one more meal idea, there are a lot of great ways to use cooking to keep the kids busy and teach them a few things at the same time.

And cooking may just become more fun for Mom and Dad in the process!

When you think about it, cooking teaches a wide variety of skills and encompasses many different subjects – art, math, science, you name it.

And cooking doesn’t have to mean making a big, fancy meal.

Get creative, and brainstorm some ideas with the kids.  There are countless recipes and ideas for fun and simple activities with food online, and anything can be customized to your child’s interests, preferences, and age.

The youngest children can help to identify and gather ingredients, counting and sorting by color, shape, or food group as you make your meal.

While baking a batch of cookies, little ones can count out chocolate chips, raisins, or colored chocolate candies and older siblings can practice adding and subtracting with a small pile of them prior to baking.

Shapes and colors can be taught by separating sugar cookie dough into small batches of different colors.  See how the colors blend as they bake, and be creative with cookie cutter shapes.

Older children can even make a sugar cookie puzzle to be put together after baked and cooled.  A sugar cookie cake baked in a pie pan can become a canvas for a “painting” created with frosting and candies or sliced fruit.

Preschoolers can assist with basic measuring, pouring and mixing, and older kids can learn about fractions with measuring cups and spoons, and the difference between solid and liquid measurements.

Cooking can even teach basic chemistry – like why different ingredients, like leavenings, and cooking temperatures can create such different results.

You can even discuss farming, our food supply, and even food safety handling raw foods while preparing a meal with older children.

And cooking together is always a good time to talk about healthy eating habits, where our food comes from – or any topic at all.

And don’t forget to think outside the box!

Have the kids use apple slices, nut butter (if no allergies), and bird seed as treats for their feathered friends in the backyard.

Or look up a recipe for homemade dog or cat treats for the family pet that can be cut into fun shapes.

Make brightly-colored ice cubes with juices and small pieces of fruit.  You can even use them to teach children the basic science of liquids turning to solids or put different colored cubes together in a bowl to learn about blending colors as they melt.

Cut a design in an apple or potato and allow small children to make prints on paper (or you can use fabric paint to make special placemats or a tablecloth!).

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And whatever snack or meal you decide to make with your child, enjoy it in style.

The kids can make table decorations, place cards, pick flowers in the yard for a vase, and even get dressed in their Sunday best – it doesn’t have to be a holiday to make a meal into a memorable experience.

You can even think up games for mealtime or have a contest for everyone’s favorite new recipe, best new dessert, or most creative take on an old family favorite.

Use meal prep and snack time to help structure your stay-at-home day, and the planning and preparation are great life skills for every age.

This may be the perfect opportunity to get back into regular family meals and planning for the coming school year – and the kids will have more skills to help pack their lunches next year after all that practice.  It’s a win/win.

Cooking with your kids can be a great addition to your temporary or permanent homeschool – and to the quality of time at home in general.

It creates lasting memories and valuable skills that can be practiced and utilized for a lifetime.