Cooking is not only a fun, engaging activity for children, but one that can be used to teach a variety of life skills. The first of these are the fine motor skills associated with working with food. Chopping, squeezing, spreading, and mixing are all fine motor skills that help develop a child’s small muscle control and eye-hand coordination.
The next of these involve cognitive skills. Cooking inspires children’s curiosity, thinking, and problem solving, offering new opportunities to make predictions and observations. Additionally, cooking offers authentic opportunities for students to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, one-to-one correspondence, numbers, and counting.
As they follow a recipe, children organize ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple directions. Lastly, are the language skills one acquires through the act of food preparation. With its own vocabulary, cooking is a great opportunity for language development. In our classroom we take advantage of opportunities for children to match pictures to words and articulate questions inspired by their new experiences.
For this activity in particular, we created a very simple dish of guacamole. In every activity I do, I create numbered directions, so that students can figure out the process on their own. The key vocabulary words for this activity were “mash”, “guacamole”, and “spicy.”