Contributors: Hunter Richard and Antolita Caldito
As schools close due to COVID-19, many parents of Early Years Learners are concerned with the amount of time their children are spending away from school and in front of a screen. What about all the skills that they don’t get to learn or to practice? What if I told you that a simple mealtime – breakfast, lunch or dinner – is a chance for your child to learn and practise some of those skills.
Meal or Math
Following a simple recipe is perfect for teaching young ones all about processes, patterns and even patience. So encourage your child to help out in the kitchen. Meal preparation is the perfect time to get your little one counting, measuring, comparing and recognizing shapes and comparing sizes. Don’t expect perfect accuracy and give plenty of positive feedback
Try to ask your children to measure and count the cups of ingredients, count how many plates and utensils are needed for the whole family and figure out who has more or less food on their plate. Get creative with Math during cleanup time too, you can help your child name the shapes of the dishes and sponges.
Getting your child to use their hands to feel different textures, their noses to identify smells, and of course their taste buds is a necessity for proper brain development at a young age. The kitchen is a perfect place for these kinds of sensory experiences. Not only does it teach them about their five senses but it also encourages them to explore new types of food.
Responsibility and self-care
Cleaning up messes is a core skill that should be learned and practiced from a very early age. Getting your child to help wash the dishes, wipe down the countertops and put things away in their correct places not only gives them a sense of responsibility but also helps their problem solving skills and their fine motor skills in the process.
The kitchen is often overlooked as a learning space but it has so much to offer your child. Look for new ways to get your child excited and busy with you while preparing food. It will build many skills and give your child a healthy respect for food and a positive attitude towards eating.