Children are innately creative - they will use pencils, Play-Doh, or pillows to generate a unique work of art, which they proudly display for all to see. Nowhere are your children more creative than in the kitchen, where they are fascinated by the process of combining ingredients into a culinary masterpiece - or simply cupcakes, whichever tends to come out of your kitchen!
There is more than cooking lessons to be had in the kitchen, though. There is math practice in every measuring cup. Turn your little chefs into mathemeticians with this recipe for success in the kitchen!
Quantity retrievalYounger chefs can go in the pantry or the cabinet and get a specified number of items. Don't trust her with the eggs? She can count the plates and set the table so you can enjoy your homemade treat together. Make sure when she brings the items to you, you count them together.
Basic measuringReading a recipe and measuring ingredients is the simplest way to expose your children to fractions.
Doubling a recipeHere's where the trickier math comes in! Older chefs can add or multiply fractions to find the correct amount.
Estimation You've used some milk, but how much? You used most of the eggs, but how many are left? Have your chef estimate the amount of ingredients left over. Did you use half of the container? A third? After everyone makes a guess, count or measure the ingredients.
Elapsed timeHave your chef check the clock before you put your creation in the oven and - based on the recipe's suggested cooking time- decide how long to set the timer and what time your snack will be ready. Once the timer gets going, you can ask your chef how much time has passed since your snack went into the oven.
Sharing a meal This is basic division - or subtraction for younger chefs! Make sure everyone gets a fair slice of the pie!
Jennifer Cerbasi teaches at a public school for children on the autism spectrum in New Jersey. As a coordinator of Applied Behavioral Analysis programs in the home, she works with parents to create and implement behavioral plans for their children in an environment that fosters both academic and social growth. In addition to her work both in the classroom and at home, she is also a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Jennifer is an educational consultant who works with families and educators to establish healthy and productive routines in the home and school. Adapting behavior management techniques she implemented for years as a special educator, she helps parents and teachers adopt these tools to fit their unique needs and priorities. Jennifer also speaks to parent and education groups on current topics in education and children's health. Visit www.jennifercerbasi.com