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Math in the Kitchen
Rebeka Heath

"Can I help?"

I’m sure you’ve heard this question asked by a sweet little face looking up at the counter as you’re measuring chocolate chips or stirring a pot. Young children love to be just like the adults in their lives, and few things are more “adult” than cooking in the big kitchen.

The easy answer is “no.” It’s messy. It’s chaotic. It’s a little dangerous. It risks a meal being inedible or at least filled with some extra egg-shell crunch.

But being in the kitchen can be a fantastic, well-rounded learning experience. Your student can learn:

  • Counting and one-to-one correspondence
  • Following instructions
  • Units of measurement
  • Size order
  • Good hygiene
  • Adding and subtracting
  • Time
  • Patience
  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect

And the list goes on and on. All from one little foray into the world of baking.

Again, let me say— I know this is not one of those “easy” activities! I am not suggesting putting your family’s sustenance in the hands of the resident four-year-old. But here are some ideas to help you get started. A little preparation can go a long way in creating a fun (and tasty) learning experience!

  • Start easy with snacks and treats.
  • Set aside the school day to make your recipe— don’t try to fit other things in.
  • Choose a day when no one is rushed or tired.
  • Pick a recipe that is something your student will want to make/eat.
  • Choose a recipe that is as simple as possible - try no-rise pizza dough, easy sugar cookies, homemade granola, or some no-bake cookies.
  • Before you start, lay out all your ingredients, measuring supplies, bowls, etc..
  • Enjoy the process! Part of learning is making mistakes. Tell yourself this is about fun and connection, not perfection, and be OK with the results.
  • If you have older students who like to bake, have them teach the lesson and work with your TKer– a learning experience for both of them!
  • Grab a family recipe book to document recipes your little one has made with you, and take lots of pictures!
  • TK Corner

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