Why cooking is so important in the early years
Cooking in the early years is a great, fun experience which offers a wealth of learning and development. One cooking activity is able to promote all seven areas of the early years foundation stage and because children enjoy the experience so much they are not even aware they are learning about numbers or developing skills. As well as cooking developing all seven areas it is a sensory experience engaging often all five sense making it a more memorable experience and truly engaging the children in the early years. Cooking also gives children knowledge about food, where it comes from and what is healthy and unhealthy. As a practitioner these are all important skills to give to children in order to encourage them to make the food choices and something Ofsted are keen to see is happening. It is also gives them valuable self help skills and learn some delicious recipes along the way which they can share with their parents.
How to get the most out of cooking in the early years
The tips below will help many areas of children’s development
- Allow the children to do as much as they can for themselves
- Promote good hygiene before beginning such as cleaning tables and washing hands
- Encourage the children to look at the ingredients and think about what they might be cooking
- Encourage the children to name the ingredients and discuss where it has come from or how it grows
- Make simple recipe cards containing small numbers and easy to measure units such as 1 cup
- Encourage the children to weigh out their own ingredients
- Teach them skills such as how to cut safely or how to crack an egg
- Talk about what is happening as you mix the ingredients together – Use scientific language with the older children such as solid and liquid
- Talk about the textures and smells
- Be supportive and allow the children to explore, actively learn and critically think for themselves
- Create an early years recipe book and log all of the wonderful things you have made
- Talk about healthy and unhealthy choices as you cook
- Encourage the children to share, work as a team and problem solve a long the way.
For some simple recipes to get you started in your cooking activities in the early years follow the link here
Please follow us on Facebook.