Cooking and baking are fun, fulfilling activities for all ages! Younger kids can learn math (counting, measuring, arithmetic), science (using their senses, nutrition, how food grows, even some chemistry!), reading, culture, teamwork, fine motor skills, and more through cooking and baking. Older kids and teens learn the critical life skills of preparing healthy food for themselves. And everyone can have fun, explore different cultures through food, be creative, and taste new foods when they bake and cook! Here are a few activities to try at home:
- Select a country that interests you/your family. Research the cuisine of that country; what foods are commonly raised and produced there? What are some popular dishes? Check out a cookbook from your library with recipes from that country or region; select a few recipes to prepare and try them out!
- Go to your usual grocery store and find 3 foods you’ve never eaten before but think you’d like. Find a recipe that uses each one (or, if appropriate, eat them raw/as is); cook them and give them a try! Will they become regular additions to your family’s dinner table? Repeat often!
- Try making your favorite condiment from scratch! Whether it’s ketchup, mustard, kimchi, pickles, butter, chutney, gravy, jam, hummus, spaghetti sauce, etc., you can make it at home. Check out a cookbook from your library or find recipes online. Does your homemade version taste better than your regular store bought condiment?
- Have a virtual recipe exchange with friends, family, and coworkers! Ask people you know to share a few of their favorite recipes, and a short note about why they’re favorites, or where they came from. With contributors’ permission, place all of the recipes in a shared online folder and share them out to this group, to form a type of community cookbook! Try the recipes that look good to you.
- Find some easy recipes for items that are portable; after your cooking or baking, have a picnic!
- Check out many more fun cooking and baking ideas to try with children from Cooking Matters: http://cookingmatters.org/node/2218#.