We have been examining the benefits of allowing children to assist with the preparation of the family meals. Another reason is it is extremely easy to transform the kitchen into a learning laboratory while spending quality time with your children as you cook together.
As you teach your children how to crack eggs, stir sauce and/or measure ingredients, you are also teaching/reinforcing language, mathematics and science skills. Basic math skills (more or less), sequencing skills (what goes first, second, next, … last?), and fractions (1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2/3 cup of milk) are just a few examples of how math skills can be reinforced.
Reading comprehension can improve as children read recipes, especially if they have to do one thing while another is happening (preheat oven while mixing batter) or something has to be thawed or chilled for a while before the next step of the recipe can be completed. What kind of utensil must be used for cooking and whether or not it needs to be greased are both essential pieces of information which need to be gleaned from the recipe in order to guarantee a successful venture.
Science principles can be explored in many ways: liquids giving off gases as they are boiling; change in the consistency of butter when it is melted; melding of ingredients while fudge is being made; how flavors come together when soup is made even as the individual items remain separate, etc. Ask your children if this reminds them of anything they have studied in school (rock formation, for example).
Why not give these lab ideas a try as you and your kids experiment on this recipe for mini s’mores pies?
- 6 mini graham cracker pie crusts
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
- ¾ cup mini marshmallows
- Preheat oven to 325ᵒ F.
- Place pie crusts on baking sheet.
- Divide ¼ cup chocolate chips between pie crusts,
- Sprinkle marshmallows over chocolate chips.
- Top with remaining chocolate chips.
- Bake 3 – 5 minutes or until marshmallows are light golden brown. (Makes 6 servings)