Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cooking with your children = quality time

Continuing the theme of learning styles in the kitchen, here are five reasons to let your children into the kitchen and do some baking (even if you are the type of person who prefers to get things done yourself):

1. You get kudos for being a great mother who spends quality time with her children.

2. You get kudos for being a great mother who spends quality time with her children while furthering their education: teaching the children to measure cake ingredients is a fundamental stepping stone towards basic maths skills.

3. It’s fun.

4. You get a cake at the end of the process - cheaper and yummier than the store-bought stuff.

5. Cooking together is a great way to assess your child’s Learning Style.

Of course, the most reliable way to discover your child’s Learning Style is to do the online assessment on But observing your child first and then doing the assessment gives you the satisfaction of being right when your instinctive evaluation matches ours.

So, does your daughter prefer mixing the ingredients with a spoon or is she begging to knead the dough? If she wants to touch the cake all the time, she’s probably tactile.

Does your son place tasting the raw mixture above all other activities of measuring and stirring? He may have a sweet tooth, but he may also need mouth stimulation when concentrating on a difficult task.

Does your child want to know what type of cake you’re making? If so, his or her information processing style is probably global (holistic).

Is your child happy to follow instructions, or do they prefer to do their own thing? (If the latter, your child may be one or more of the following: non-conforming, not needing external guidance, holistic, change-oriented.)

And if the child offers to help you clean up afterwards, they may well be analytic.

For toddlers, I would suggest using a shop-bought cake mix (just add water and eggs, and stir) and teaching the child how to crack an egg, how to measure the water, how to mix effectively.

For older children, go all the way with flour, butter and baking powder. Remember to explain what each ingredient is for (sugar for sweetness, baking powder to make the cake grow in the oven, egg for holding the ingredients together, salt to bring out the sweetness, orange peel for aroma). Talking and explaining is a great way of making the children feel included.

Bon Appétit!

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