For young children, PLAY & learning occur simultaneously—one cannot be separated from the other. What a brilliant construct! PLAYING makes learning self-initiated and self-directed! PLAY & learning can occur in a variety of settings; one of them being your kitchen!
Kitchen as the Classroom:
Baking is a fantastic activity to do with children because it is an activity that engages and uses their senses. Additionally, baking is an activity that can touch on all developmental domains! Recall in early childhood, the general developmental domains are:
Baking—or cooking—is a full-immersion activity that presents many learning opportunities for all developmental domains!
Social Domain: Mealtime is meant to be social—and the time involved before eating can be just as social, giving children the opportunity to engage in conversation as well as discuss aspects—like family histories—of any recipes involved in preparing the meal. Baking and/or cooking along with you will give them practice at following directions; collaborating and cooperating to get the meal on the table!
Emotional Domain: Following a recipe or taking directions from a recipe builds self-confidence in your little baker. They’ll feel a sense of pride in their accomplishment when a sheet of cookies is taken out of the oven, cookies golden brown and smelling delicious, knowing they had an integral part in making them!
Cognitive Domain: Baking should just be thought of as a mathematics exercise. There’s volume, measurements, 1-to-1 correspondence, and arithmetic concepts such as addition and fractions.
But wait, there’s more! SCIENCE!! For example, physics! States of matter: liquid, gas, solid—as the batter or dough becomes a cake or cookie! AND there’s the potential for learning a lot of new vocabulary words! If possible, have word-picture cards to accompany your recipes.
Physical Domain: Measuring, pouring, mixing, scraping, pounding, kneading, rolling, cutting, spooning, icing are just a sampling of the possible physical ‘doings’ baking provides. These activities develop small motor muscles and eye-hand coordination.
What’s your kidlet’s favorite cookie? Raisin-Oatmeal? Chocolate chip? Enjoy a cookie snack while reading the following book and then try this cookie-theme activity!
READ: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff
- Math Activity
Cut out 11 (0-10) brown construction paper or felt circles. On one side put the dots and word; on the other side, just the numeral and word. Provide raisins or chocolate chips to put into the ‘cookie’.
- Many kidlets memorize the numbers in order (similarly the alphabet) without really understanding WHAT a number means…they don’t understand 1-to-1 correspondence yet. This activity will help your child begin to understand that 4 raisins = 4. Later, on the opposite side they can work on numeral recognition as well as sight words for the number. Additionally, the ‘cookies’ can be put in sequential order, 0-10.
I’d love to hear about PLAY & learning in the kitchen for your kidlets (or grandkidlets). Did they enjoy it? What did you make? Personally, I’m better at setting up cooking or baking activities for kiddos to do than actually doing them myself…(sigh)
Yours in Play!