The Kitchen Classroom

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The Kitchen Classroom Education at Home at ApronStringsOtherThings.com

More than delicious meals are whipped up in the kitchen. Well-educated kids who grow in to well-rounded adults are also created in the kitchen. In our early years of homeschooling I was amazed when I began realizing how many of our everyday, run-of-the-mill activities were actually educational. I began viewing life through an educator’s eyes.

Let’s peek into the kitchen classroom for a moment and see what we are actually learning!

Math

When I had toddlers underfoot I would often ask them to count out potatoes as a way of keeping them busy while I fixed supper. Their lunch might be a round bowl of soup with a square grilled cheese sandwich cut into triangles. That whole sandwich was cut into halves or in fourths.

Children become aware of measuring tools early on as they help pour out a cup of milk for my baked oatmeal recipe or a teaspoon of salt for the cookies we are baking. They see first hand how hot and cold temperatures affect us.

Science & Nutrition

Do you realize how much science is discovered in the kitchen? It thrills children to see how many ways they can make an ice cube melt, or watch a pot boil away as water turns from liquid to vapor. What happens when you leave the baking soda out of the biscuits, or forget the yeast when baking pizza crust? Experiments happen often in our kitchen – planned AND unplanned – and the lessons learned are often memorable.

Nutrition is the obvious subject studied in the kitchen. The benefit of encouraging your children to participate in kitchen activities is that they see first hand how to combine healthy ingredients to make tasty dishes. If they are included in the planning and cooking of meals and snacks they are more likely to actually eat them!

Social Studies

Do you serve family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation? Are the special holiday dishes that are traditions which cannot be ignored? Get the kids in the kitchen to help next time you prepare these. Take time to share your memories, tell about their ancestors who also prepared them. Kids love hearing about their grandparents, aunts and uncles and how they lived. What was it like when you were a child? Share those memories!

Food is often at the center of family tradition and culture. Every Easter I bake a special bread recipe that was given to me by my mother, but it’s her mother I remember baking with in the kitchen as a child. Her family was from Croatia. My father’s family hails from Scotland and Germany. Creating family favorites in our home can take us on a virtual trip down memory land and all across Europe!

Creative Arts

Give your children permission to create. Ask them to plan a meal, but give guidelines to include foods of at least 3 different colors. Encourage them to arrange foods in different patterns on the plate or cut them into different shapes to be more pleasing to the eye. I have heard it said we eat with our eyes before the food ever touches our tongue. This is a concept even young children can understand – if it looks pretty, it’s going to be tastier!

You’ll find more ideas for bringing a bit of schooling into the kitchen atΒ  Homeschool Review Crew’s Cooking Your Way Through School Round Up.

Art in Our HomeschoolAlso sharing this post at some of these wonderful places.

The Kitchen Classroom Learning Real Life Lessons Schooling Happens All Day Long at ApronStringsOtherThings.com

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Comments

  1. My son loves to cook, and it’s fun to realize all the learning that’s happening in the kitchen! πŸ™‚

  2. It amazes me how many people don’t think along those lines when they complain about how our kids should be in a public school setting. I have put on “educator’s eyes” since I started homeschooling too, and it certainly puts a whole new perspective on everything.
    I’m glad that you shared all of these wonderful things that can be learned in the kitchen.

  3. My children are nervous when they are in the kitchen. They always think they are going to burn or cut themselves. How can I help encourage them without pushing them into a situation that is scaring them?

    • That’s a great question, Cynthia. The more they become familiar with the kitchen and the more we give them opportunity to use kitchen tools the more confident they become. When mine were little, I created ‘safe zones.’ I would set them up at the kitchen table, or at a counter away from the stove (maybe on a step stool?) and give them a task. Teaching knife skills with a plastic knife, show them how to cut soft foods like bread or olives or strawberries or cheese. They can cut pepper strips or hot dogs even with a small scissors. I keep a pair in my drawer just for food.

      Depending on their age and size, you can show them and then let them fill a small pan with water and set it to boil. Do things in baby steps. Search the internet for video tutorial on ‘how to’ use a knife, make soup, etc. Select one skill to work on, and invite them to join you. Sometimes having a crowd in the kitchen makes mom nervous, so I often would choose one kitchen helper for each meal, or for the week. That way they work side by side with me, learning by watching and assisting.

      Look at your menu for the week and choose one meal to use as a teaching tool. Scrambled eggs? Let the kids crack them into a dish and then pour into larger bowl. Let them pour a bit of oil into pan and turn on the burner. Have them hold pan with one hand and stir/scrape pan with spatula. It only takes a few minutes (although clean up might take more with the mess they are likely to make!)

      If you stay positive, keep your own fears quiet and get them involved in some way you’ll see their confidence grow.

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