Guest Post by Lisa Shoreland
Cooking with your kids is a great way to build a variety of skills while having tasty, tactile fun in the process. Working off of a recipe, whether from a cookbook, online or even–yes!– on a Wii, helps enhance a child’s reading skills. Ingredient measurement and unit conversion draw math into the mix, and the step-by-step organizational process of cooking improves logical thinking (for added practice, try doubling recipes or cutting them in half). The best part about cooking with your kids is that while children are practicing basic math, language and logic skills, they are being rewarded by their own delicious creations. And what could be better than that? Try these simple, time-tested recipes with your kids and get filled up on both laughter and learning.
1. Ants on a Log
For children new to the kitchen, start with something basic like ants on a log. Fun and simple to make, these tasty ants are a classic childhood staple. As an added bonus, this recipe is recommended as a healthy “Smart Snack,” comprising several food groups, by the McKinley Health Center.
5 stalks celery
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup raisins
Directions: Cut the celery stalks in half. Spread with peanut butter. Sprinkle with raisins (“ants”). Enjoy!
2. Mini Pizza
1 split English muffin or Bagel
Pizza sauce (approx 1/4 cup)
Pizza cheese (shredded)
Toppings such as mushrooms, pepperoni or broccoli
Directions: Toast your muffin or bagel. Spread pizza sauce evenly on muffin or bagel halves. Sprinkle cheese on top and add your toppings. Put on tray and put into toaster oven set on broil. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
3. Simple, Savory Soup
14 oz package smoked sausage, sliced
1 c thick salsa
1 c BBQ sauce
1 c corn, canned or frozen
15 1/2 oz can kidney beans, drained
3 lb 5 oz can pork and beans, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
In a large pot used for soup or pasta, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Your stew is ready!
Remember to always supervise young children in the kitchen, especially with knives, toasters and ovens. Use your discretion when assigning tasks. Maybe Mom puts things in and takes things out of the oven, or Dad chops vegetables, while the children mix and arrange ingredients. Once simple recipes like the ones above have been mastered, venture into the more precise sciences, like baking (cookies anyone?). And always encourage sampling, tasting and experimentation; cooking should be a fun, enriching and delicious process for all!
Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching radiology scholarships as well as pharmacy scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.