Kids in the Kitchen: What Skills Can They Learn?
Get your kids in the kitchen and watch them grow!
It’s time to get your kids in the kitchen!
Young children love to copy what other people are doing. They gain great pleasure out of helping their parents wash the car, tidy up or even put the shopping away. A positive way to put this curiosity to good use and satisfy their inquisitive minds is by teaching them a new language whilst performing theses activities.
Get your kids in the kitchen and they can bake cakes, make pasta or play with pastry dough while you feed their mind with new words.
By having fun getting messy in the kitchen, they won’t actually realise they are being taught a new language.
Learning a language often means learning by rote and repetition, as words and phrases need to be repeated to be remembered. But repetition does not have to be boring. Making the experience fun helps to keep young learners curious and keen to carry on.
[bctt tweet=”Repetition need not be boring! Make it fun and watch them learn #languagelearning” username=”cooklanguage”]
Children are sponges. They are easily excitable. When they are excited and interested in something they absorb more. They learn without realising.
No matter what age your child is, they can have fun learning languages through cooking or simply playing with food.
Children use all of their senses while cooking. By helping them learn to cook and to know about food, you help them to be more comfortable with different foods and can even make them healthier eaters.
Pressuring young children to eat vegetables at the dinner table is known to be counterproductive – it actually increases resistance to healthy foods.
Download FREE materials and great gifts …
In a nutshell, kids like what they know and they eat what they like. So, making food and cooking fun has many benefits.
In addition to using food and cooking for learning languages, you can use them to help with:
- Improving motor skills in younger children: start with soft foods that they can add/mix/grate/cut with plastic scissors or child-friendly knives …
- Mathematical skills: from number recognition, basic sums, to learning weights and measures,
- Reading and comprehension: encourage your child to read the recipe to you, ask them questions that spark their imagination eg. How do they think the food will look? Taste? smell?
- Telling the time and measuring time
- Boosting vocabulary: ingredients, using descriptive words to describe how food looks, smells and sounds while it’s cooking,
Children, of all ages, have fun while using all five senses which is why cooking is so entertaining. First, they’ll be using their eyes to find ingredients and read the recipe. Then they will be touching the food as they chop it or mix it. After that comes the sound of the cooking as the food sizzles, bubbles or makes a popping noise. This gives off the lovely smells which help to get the mouth watering as they finally get to taste their delicious dishes.
As well as new words, you can introduce some simple maths while you cook. Your children can weigh out ingredients on the scales or use measurements such as litres and grams. If rolling out pastry or pasta, they’ll need a ruler to measure the length too. They’ll be learning to tell the time as they stir the pot for two minutes or bake a cake for 40 minutes, for example.
Then there are the words they will use. It’s not just learning about ingredients but they will be boosting their vocabulary with new verbs such as basting, boiling, rolling or roasting; and adding adjectives like bitter, sweet, delicious, juicy, salty, smooth or lumpy. You can encourage them to communicate by asking them how the food feels or to describe how it tastes.
By getting children involved in the cooking process, it’s a sneaky way to get them to try new things. If they’ve cooked it, they’ll want to try it so think about introducing different ingredients or spices as you go along. Hopefully, this will encourage them to be more experimental with flavours. Most children go through a fussy eating stage but getting them to help prepare the family meals can be one way to get them to taste new foods. They’ll feel proud and excited at helping and should be more likely to eat something they’ve helped to make, especially if you say how yummy it looks.
To sum up, children can learn new words, a new language, simple maths, the time and communication skills by helping prepare a meal. Bearing that in mind, we think cooking with children is a fun way to teach while you also get a little helper in the kitchen. Now, we just have to persuade them that washing up is a great game to play too!
Try these simple activities, in your target language, for starters…
(These ideas can be adapted to whatever language you are introducing.)
- Using your fruit bowl …
- Can you name the fruits in your bowl?
- What colour are they?
- How many are there?
- What do they smell like?
- What do they feel like?
- Open your cutlery drawer …
- Can you name each utensil?
- How many are there of each item?
- What is each item used for?
- Create stickies (and if you are artistic, add drawings too) of Kitchen items …
- E.g. fridge, freezer, sink, cupboard, drawer, tea towel, dishcloth …
4. Play the “hot/cold” game …
- The idea is that your child has to guess which word (in the target languages) is the correct name for the items in your kitchen. As they get closer to the item, you say “hotter” (in your target language) and as the move further away you say “colder” (in your target language)
5. Use out Activity Cookbook
- If your target language is Spanish or English, choose one of the recipes from our Activity Cookbook and work together with your child.
- Before you start cooking:
- Look at the ingredients, practice the words together (listen to the audio on our website for help)
- Make a shopping list together, for the required ingredients
- Visit the supermarket and purchase the ingredients, with your child, repeating the words and quantities as shown in our book
- When you are ready to cook:
- Tell your child (in the target language) what they need to get ready, item by item (using the book for reference)
- From the fridge, we need …..
- From the cupboard, we need …
- Follow the instructions, step by step and make the simple and scrummy recipes.
- Practice phrases and expressions to say what you love, like, don’t like …
There are so many ways how children learn a language in the kitchen, these are just a few simple ideas. We have many more to share with you!
Introducing Arthur Apple’s Pancake Challenge! Designed to get Kids in the Kitchen and Learning New Languages!
We have a simple and scrummy recipe to share with you. It is really easy to follow.
This is one of the recipes in our Activity Cookbook that we funded thanks to YOU on Crowdfunder.
125gr plain flour
Your favourite fillings: sugar, lemon, Nutella, fresh fruit, honey…
How to make the pancakes …
- Sieve the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
- Make a hole in the centre of the flour and add the egg and some milk.
- Whisk all the ingredients together until you have a smooth liquid.
- Add the remaining milk and whisk again.
How to cook the pancakes…
- Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan.
- Remove the excess oil before adding the pancake mix.
- Add a large spoon of mix to the frying pan and spread it over the base (the easiest way is to rotate the frying pan slowly).
- As the pancake sets, loosen it with a spatula and flip over (use a plate if you are not confident flipping).
Arthur’s Perfect Pancake Tips:
- For skinny French style pancakes, make sure your mixture is nice and runny.ie. add lots of the milk
- For fatter American style pancakes, use less milk to make a thicker mixture.
- BEFORE entering the Pancake Challenge, experiment with the mixture to get your best pancake.
- Loosen the pancake with a spatula before flipping.
- HAVE FUN!!!!
How Do You Enter Arthur Apple’s Pancake Challenge?
- Once you have perfected the art of making simple and scrummy pancakes, you need to practice flipping them.
- For the challenge, you can flip your pancakes wherever you like … in the kitchen, in your garden, on the beach, in the snow … let your imagination run wild!
- When you are ready, ask somebody to video you flipping your pancake, as many times as you can.
- At the start of your video, tell us your name, age and where you are from.
- Count out loud, in whatever language you can speak, whilst flipping your pancakes.
- Post your video to our Cooking with Languages Facebook Page (Pop over to the page and see the wonderful video Bodhi and Himani sent to us!)