Parenting: Learning by baking cookies
January 11, 2011 (WPVI) -- So now, Nicholas has decided he wants to be a chef when he grows up... a decision he's made because of his enjoyment in the kitchen.
During the holidays, our house was (unfortunately) over-stuffed with cookies - largely because my 8-year-old learned how to bake, and bake and bake.
And so as I was munching on my 60th or 70th cookie of the holidays season, it dawned on me that when children take an interest in cooking or baking, they're not learning about the foods they eat, but are spending less time in front of the TV or playing video games.
And there are other benefits, according to child development experts. Teaching kids to bake also improves their manual dexterity, enhances their creativity, while also giving them a sense of accomplishment - which of course heightens self-esteem.
And yet there can also be challenges in the kitchen, which as a family you can tackle together.
For instance, some gingerbread men we decided to make (homemade) was just a little too complicated - a big departure from the cookie dough that you simply spoon out and place on the cookie sheet. We quickly learned that when baking with children, recipes should be kept simple at first.
Gradually we've moved up measuring ingredients like a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla, or a 1/3 cup of chopped nuts. By letting my son use a measuring cup, he's also learning fractions - in a fun way. And by reading recipes out loud, has helped him learn new words and terms that will stay with him as he tackles further adventures in the kitchen.
I just hope my waistline can hold-up!
rick williams parenting reports, parenting, rick williams
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