One of the great benefits of summertime, is the wide variety of fresh and nutritious produce that is in season. From juicy strawberries to colorful melons, there are so many fun fruits and vegetables to enjoy with the little ones in your care! And, inviting children to be a part of the cooking process is a great way to support early development while getting little ones excited about eating healthy meals!
Benefits of Cooking with Children
Participating in the process of cooking is good for children’s health, development, and overall well-being. In an article for the National Head Start Association, pediatrician Dr. Nimali Fernando describes three key benefits of cooking with young children:
1. Working together builds confidence.
When children take part in cooking, they contribute to tasks like measuring, pouring, and mixing the ingredients together. Accomplishing these tasks and successfully making a recipe helps children to build new skills and gain confidence in themselves.
2. Cooking connects children to multiple areas of learning.
The kitchen is full of learning opportunities, and cooking encourages children to practice their science, math, language, and motor skills– all in one activity! While cooking together, invite children to help measure and count ingredients as you explain some of the science behind the way foods change when they are cooked! Asking children to help with chopping, scooping, and pouring gives them the opportunity to build their fine motor skills.
3. Healthy cooking encourages healthy eating!
When little ones are involved in preparing healthy, fresh, and nutritious food, they are more likely to be interested in eating it. Cooking together inspires children to be curious about a variety of different food items, and it makes mealtimes more fun!
Easy, Healthy Recipes with Summer Produce