Cooking with preschoolers can be exciting and messy, but is an important opportunity for their social and emotional development as well as their fine motor skills, executive functioning skills and their exposure to healthy and nutritious food choices. As an educator it is important to be the guiding hand behind the meal choices that are made in your program. It is also important to let preschoolers have a range of options to choose from and allow them some freedom of choice in their food items.
Preschoolers begin to value social interactions and are eager to participate in activities that adults often complete. Allowing them the opportunity to work collaboratively with both adults and peers creates an experience which is structured in a comfortable and relaxed way. Food is a universal language and by bringing a common element into a social situation it puts all parties at ease and allows them to bond around this common element.
Adults can encourage social interactions when cooking by asking open ended questions, soliciting conversations between shy children and their peers, sitting children next to new friends, and making jokes or telling stories. When the cooked food is done and ready to eat, serving it family style is a great option to continue these social interactions.
Watch the video below of a preschool class learning about nutrition and cooking and then answer the worksheet question next to it.
Video: Teaching Preschool Students How to Cook Source: By Rutgers Today Length: 1:55
Times shown are Pacific Standard Time. If you are in Central or Eastern Time, you will need to adjust the time accordingly.
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