Supporting Learning at Home – in the Kitchen
With the increase in the amount of time we are spending at home, many of us have been cooking more and experimenting in the kitchen to keep us entertained…and fed!
Getting your children involved in the kitchen is a great way to develop a multitude of skills and understandings. Apart from ‘life skills’ like managing a diet and planning for daily routines, activities like cooking have many links to curriculum areas such as Maths, English and Science.
Don’t worry, not all kitchen activities have to be messy. Children do not need to be involved in every step of the cooking process but giving them simple tasks to complete and help you when preparing meals can be a great way of getting them involved. Simple steps like fetching ingredients, writing shopping lists, measuring ingredients or mixing are great ways to get started…but it won’t take long before they want to be the Head Chef!!
Remember that cooking together should be fun. Children love helping out in the kitchen so they won’t even realise that they are learning the process. Here are some simple ways to incorporate Maths into your cooking.
See what measuring equipment you have in your kitchen such as kitchen scales, measuring jugs, spoons and cups. Allow your children to explore using the equipment and guide them in how to best use them. When they are confident you can even ask them to measure out the ingredients for you when you are cooking. You can also look at the different units of measurement we use when cooking such as grams, kilograms, millilitres and litres.
Cooking is often time dependent. Encourage your child to help you keep track of time when you are cooking. Practise working out what time something will be ready. Time problems like this can be difficult out of context but knowing that the delicious cookies you are baking will be ready in 30 minutes can be great motivation to solve a Maths problem such as “What time will our cookies be ready?”
With younger children you can tell them what time something will be ready and ask them to keep an eye on the clock for you. If you have different types of clocks and timers in your kitchen you can also practise using them to tell the time.
You can incorporate money into the kitchen by working out costs when you are shopping for ingredients. A great challenge for older children can be working out the cost per serving of a dish you are making. This challenge will incorporate many different Maths skills. You can also give older children a budget and see if they can plan a meal and buy the ingredients while sticking to that budget. You never know, they might be better at it than you 🙂
Measuring cups and spoons are a great way to explore fractions with children, which usually come labelled with various fraction amounts. Let your child play with the different fractions. Ask them to investigate how many quarter cups it takes to fill a whole cup or how many quarter cups it takes to make a half cup. Using water or rice are great ways to let children practise measuring out different amounts. You can challenge older children to make a fraction of a recipe. For example, if a recipe makes enough for 6 people you could challenge them to adjust the recipe for 3 people or 12 (depending on the size of your family or how hungry you are!!).
Do you have any other tips for incorporating Maths into kitchen and cooking tasks?
We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments or send us some photos of you in action.