Learning in the kitchen
Activities in the kitchen can be fun, but also extremely educational.
According to Michigan State University Extension, kitchen play and other activities can have many educational aspects; reading, math and using our senses are a few educational tools.
To teach children concentration, making homemade flash cards can be a great help. You can paste a picture of a simple food item on one card and then write the name of the food on another card using the same color with a color marker. Have your child match the words with the pictures. Add on as children get better at this matching game. Depending on the child’s age, have them help cut or rip the pictures out of the paper or magazines.
We can explore different colors of the foods by identifying, comparing and sampling the different foods. We can talk about how certain foods are the same, but have a different color, such as apples that can be green, red or yellow. There are also the different foods with the same color including oranges, carrots and cantaloupe.
You can play the lid game using different size lids and containers to practice on which lids will fit on each container. Have the child pick out different size fruits and line them up from the smallest to the largest. Have them pick one of the fruits to eat at this time. Introduce the different smells from the different foods. Have a few small samples and while the child’s eyes are closed, see if they can name that food by the smell. You can also play a taste testing game using this same concept.
Testing measuring and pouring skills can be very educational as well. Talk about the measuring cup and explain what all the lines mean. Children can practice measuring different amounts of dry foods and then do the same with liquids. Have them practice pouring liquids from a large cup into a smaller one. At first use water as it is easier to clean up. It is fun to practice this skill while taking a bath also. We can then move on to pouring from a pitcher as they master these skills.
We can talk to our children about eggs and milk and where they come from. Use books to show pictures to enhance this. Talk to them about all the different foods that eggs and milk can be made into. Have them find these different food pictures in old magazines, cut them out and glue them onto a poster board to keep up on the refrigerator.
Show children water in its three physical states; liquid, solid and gas. Have children help you fill up the ice cube trays, put in the freezer and check back on them in a few hours. Show your child what happens when we boil liquids and how the steam comes off of it. Talk about how our food contains water also.
Once again, kitchen play can have many educational aspects to it, but let’s not forget the fun and expansions our children’s learning skills!