There are lots of ways we can support children to be independent… and we know from reports that Ofsted inspectors want to see children involved in cooking and preparing their own food.
We plan our days at Knutsford Childminding so the children are involved in all aspects of meal times. Children in our provision choose what they want to eat and they are involved in making their own meals and snacks. They set and clear the table, pour their own drinks from a jug and love helping with washing up
We believe that the earlier we can involve children, the more they will enjoy contributing and helping when they get older. We provide a lot of kitchen role play in the playroom – children can make food with a pretend cooker, microwave and toaster and they can make potions in the garden.
Some of the children’s favourite meals to make are –
- Pizza – they help make the base and chop then assemble their favourite toppings; cutting a pizza teaches children fractions
- Pasta – they measure pasta and, while it is cooking they chop cheese and ham (or whatever they have chosen)
- Bread making – they are involved in all aspects of bread making from preparing the dough to cutting the bread fresh out of the oven … well, slightly cooled!
- Snack – chopping vegetables to eat with home-made yoghurt and cucumber dip; chopping fruit to eat with home-made pancakes
- Fruit cookies – we use fresh fruit (or tinned) because we know that dried fruit is not popular with dentists (too much sugar).
Cooking doesn’t simply develop children’s independence. It is a very holistic activity that links across and 7 areas of learning –
- C & L – children talk about what they are eating and learn kitchen language; they learn to describe tastes and textures; they learn the names of ingredients
- Physical – fine motor skills are developed as children cut, whisk, spread etc
- PSED – children talk about their likes and dislikes
- Literacy – children read recipes and are involved with writing shopping lists
- Maths – there is a huge amount of maths learning when cooking – number, shape, capacity, measure, speed, time, money, fractions and much more…
- UW – home interests are complemented and close working partnerships with parents are enhanced; they are supervised to operate machines to prepare food (technology); we grow some of our own food
- Art and design – we make our meals attractive and encourage children to use their imaginations when putting food on plates for their friends.
More cooking with children activity ideas for cooking with children can be found on my ‘Try it Tuesdays’ Pinterest page.
E-book 21 ‘Healthy Eating’ from Knutsford Childminding is full of meal ideas and healthy eating advice for early years providers.
Chat soon. Sarah x