School-age children have more opportunities for planning and researching meals and recipes as well as more independence in the kitchen. You can often give a school-age child a direction and watch them develop their own ideas of recipes or foods to include. When they are in the kitchen they can have some autonomy though they still will need supervision and safety precautions are always necessary to take.
When you know the children that you work with you can design a cooking lesson or activity with more ease and accuracy. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the children have a particular interest in Harry Potter books. You can create Harry Potter inspired recipes for children to make and enjoy. When working with younger children you can do this, too, but school-age children will often run with the idea adding their own flair to the recipe or wanting to design an entire themed meal. Encourage this kind of ownership and participation as often as your program allows. Children benefit in so many ways!
Cooking with older children also gives you an opportunity to combine different subject areas into a real world function, which is cooking. Everyone eats and food is one of the most common things we interact with daily. Life skills include being able to cook and by combining a math or science lesson with that life skill you suddenly make an abstract idea more tangible.
The video below is of a group of school-age children making pancakes. What’s especially wonderful about this experience is that the children are considering the science and math of making this food. They see chemical reactions, measure varying ingredients, learn about bases and acids, and watch a liquid turn to a solid! Then (perhaps the best part of all) they get to eat!
Watch the video and answer the worksheet question next to it.
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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