Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kids in the Kitchen

This blog is about kids in the kitchen and reaffirming the concept of kids and cooking and learning and teaching.

Children are beautiful creatures – a GIFT from GOD. They are cute and cuddly and naughty and mischievous and smart and quick witted all at the same time. Their character shows up everywhere – the kitchen is no exception.

Did you know that there was an experiment showing the difference in the level of enthusiasm between kids and adults? The adults were divided into 3 groups and asked to laugh and make as much noise as they could. The loudest group will win a prize. The groups took turns – guess who won – the last group. Adults tend to be self conscious, wait to see what happens or wait for a competition to show enthusiasm. The same exercise given to the children saw no difference in the behavior of the kids.

Kids don’t care who is watching. They love to let it go. This stage of growth is the best time to harness enthusiasm for all sorts of things – for food, for life, for success, for doing well, for confidence, for fun, for math, for geography, for music, for reading, for writing and just about anything.

Kids are experts at banging and smashing and ripping! This fantastic traits of children presents a great opportunity to turn them into mini chefs and at the same time to teach and help them develop both physically and mentally.

Cooking is a great tool to help children boost their cognitive and physical development.

Most of us parents don’t realize that these simple tasks in the kitchen which we take for granted, have tremendous benefits for our children. We don’t have to spend so much and take time out to send our kids to all sorts of activity centers. We have great centers in our homes – our kitchen has a wealth of tools and activities to help our kids grow and develop.

This is what young chefs can succeed in through cooking:

Two Year Olds
At this stage of growth, two year olds are learning their large muscles in their arms.
Build those muscles – the little chefs can scrub produce, tear greens, help mix ingredients

Three Year Olds
Three year olds are mastering hand control.
Build motor skills – the little chefs can mix batter, spread butter, knead dough

Four to five year olds
This age, kids are learning refined hand and finger control.
Refined control – Introduce the big little chefs to manual equipment like juicers, egg beaters and you can start teaching them to use measuring cups, pouring in mixtures or ingredients and how to do it without spilling

Six to ten year olds
Children this age can do a lot more and are impatient. They want to be busy and they are looking to show off and boast about their achievements. They have a lot of ideas at this age – allow them to experiment and show you. Build their self esteem. Give them a pat on the back even for the smallest thing. You will see a marked difference – guaranteed! Remember, Never, never criticize.

Self esteem – Allow them to do more intricate tasks that don’t include sharp or dangerous equipment. Crack eggs, decorate cakes, read out recipes, pour and mix and beat, measure.

Leave them to their imagination.

And Adults, ignore the mess – it’s worth it. I guarantee it.

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