It’s summer and school is finally out and what a school year it has been – to say the least! In addition to the challenges the last pandemic year has brought to our kids, many of us still struggle to find creative ways to nourish their growing bodies and developing minds. Now that things are a bit more relaxed – it’s a great time to get your kids involved in the kitchen. Make time in the kitchen a culinary adventure and lay the foundation for developing and maintaining healthy eating habits.
Why is cooking in the kitchen so important? Cooking helps kids develop important life and developmental skills. Stirring the pancake batter, measuring a cup of liquid, rolling out the dough – all of these simple tasks help your child develop necessary academic, cognitive, and motor skills. Which, in turn, prepares them for success in school and life. Cooking with your kids offers a wide variety of opportunities to learn and grow!
Increasing Language Skills:
When children are helping in the kitchen their vocabulary grows and they learn to follow multi-step directions. They adapt and hone their receptive language abilities. Engage and stimulate learning by explaining what you are doing and why, and then having them repeat or predict the next step. In the summer months, where the allure of ever more screen time is enticing, it’s a good idea to find ways to engage your child in interactive learning opportunities.
Fine Motor Skill Development:
Mixing, rolling, pouring and¬ for older children cutting and flipping things on the stove are a great way to enhance a child’s fine motor skills and coordination. Fine motor skill development helps children become more adept with writing, cutting, and coloring when they are back in the classroom.
Increasing Math and Computation Ability:
Cooking teaches children endless valuable lessons. Math concepts like counting, measurement, and fractions naturally unfold when navigating a recipe with kids. Explaining how food changes with temperature or how certain foods can benefit our body provide great lessons in science. Kids will learn various measurements such as cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons. They will also understand fractions, as well as utilize addition and subtraction skills.
Spending time in the kitchen can boost confidence in your child and foster an interest in cooking that will last a lifetime. The next time you are preparing dinner or whipping up a batch of pancakes, let your kids help.
About Sarita Golikeri, MD, ABOM, CCMS
Certified Geriatric and Culinary Medicine Specialist, Sarita Golikeri, MD, ABOM, CCMS, seeks to prevent and manage chronic disease and promote healthy lifestyles through cooking. Her primary focus is weight management and nutrition. Dr. Golikeri treats patients for diabetes, hypertension, dementia, high cholesterol, asthma, and obesity. She believes it’s better to prevent problems than to treat them. Dr. Golikeri joined TPMG Colonial Family Medicine in 2014 and opened her own practice, TPMG Williamsburg Geriatrics and Lifestyle Medicine in 2019.