Food preparation is not only a fun, engaging activity for children, but one that can be used for years as an important teaching and development tool for all ages. For one thing, hands-on cooking activities encourage a sense of pride and confidence.
The act of following a recipe can encourage self-direction and independence, while also teaching children to follow directions and use thinking skills to problem solve. Working with food also inspires children’s curiosity, thinking, and problem solving, offering new opportunities to make predictions and observations.
Additionally, creating snacks 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, chopping, squeezing, mixing, and spreading materials help develop a child’s small muscle control and hand-eye coordination. For this activity, we used a few ingredients to create a medieval stew (a staple in most medieval homes).
We used a variety of beans, and placed them into bowls! Once we were finished, we pretended to eat up our yummy creations!