For parents of young children, you might be wondering how you can continue their STEM education at home. The kitchen is one of the most fun ways to get children interested in STEM, and no matter what size your kitchen is, you’ll find ways to bring new lessons into your home during cooking sessions. Most children love to get involved with making their favorite snacks and meals, so keep reading as we share some simple ways to teach STEM in the kitchen.
Teaching Children About Ingredients
We all begin to learn at a young age where some of the food we eat on a daily basis comes from. While some food items are much more obvious, such as meat and eggs, others are more confusing to young children. When you cook with your child, we recommend teaching them about each ingredient as you place it in a mixing bowl.
You can share how wheat is made or how various liquids are processed to become what they are sold as in the stores. Ask your child questions about the ingredients you are adding to meals, so they know how their favorite vegetables and spices came to be. You’ll soon ignite their curiosity and start teaching them more about the world around them. As they grow older, introduce them to the farm-to-table concept and share the benefits of eating local food with your kids.
Offering Your Children the Right Tools for Cooking
One of the best ways to engage your children in STEM lessons in the kitchen is by ensuring they have the tools they need to thrive in the kitchen. Our set of child-sized utensils and cooking supplies are designed for their smaller hands. You’ll find the chance of an accident occurring is much lower, and they’ll enjoy getting to cut and mix with tools that feel comfortable in their hands.
From there, you can take the lesson further by teaching your children about chemistry when using the oven and stove. You’ll be able to show them how hot and cold temperatures change the state of liquids and solids, and you can demonstrate why different food items need to be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Math Lessons in the Kitchen
There’s no denying that math isn’t the most exciting lesson for most school children. One of the reasons for this is that children simply sit in a classroom reading textbooks and don’t see any practical application for their skills. We recommend encouraging your children to add, subtract, multiply, and divide different measurements when they are helping you to cook.
Choose a fun bakery item, such as a cake or cookies, to bake together. You’ll find that when they know a delicious finished item awaits, they are much more engaged in the math they need to do in order to make their favorite treats.
Teaching Engineering in the Kitchen
Engineering is a subject that we often don’t study until later on in our lives, but the kitchen is the perfect place to educate young children about the consequences of their decisions and various rules. Engineering has many rules, and when you change one aspect of a process, it impacts the final result. You’ll find this applies to cooking too, and they’ll soon learn that by adding and taking away different ingredients for their bakery items, they are left with different results.
You can also have a go at creating ornate buildings and towers with various food items. This helps to unleash their creativity and make them more interested in how buildings are constructed in the world around them.
Encourage Your Children to Experiment
When it comes to learning about STEM in the kitchen, we encourage you and your children to adopt an inquisitive mindset. You want your children to naturally become aware of the changes that occur when you make adjustments to processes, and you’ll soon find they start to ask more questions as they begin to learn about science. Even cooking the most basic meals can unleash a whole range of questions from an inquisitive young child.
Keep openly answering their questions and encouraging them to think about what’s taking place instead of just becoming an observer in the process. They’ll then transfer this mindset to their learning in the future and start to discover more about the world around them every day.
A big takeaway that we encourage you to share with your children when cooking is that of minimizing waste in the kitchen. You can use cooking as a chance to teach your child about composting, and you can even make a small composting unit for use in your home. Teach your children about recycling in your local area, and allow them to separate your waste into recyclable and non-recyclable goods.
They’ll soon start to carry this lesson forward when they are putting anything in the trash in the future. From there, explain to your child what will happen if they don’t recycle items. They’ll soon learn about the waste that occurs in our world today and start being more mindful about their consumption in the future.
Colorful Games in the Kitchen
Food dye is a great way to show your children what happens when you mix and match colors. Using glasses of water or a different liquid, you’ll soon find that they learn which colors mix together to form each new color. It’s a fun way to keep your child engaged in the kitchen while also introducing them to one of the basic lessons of chemistry.
You can even create colorful food items or make smoothies to demonstrate how different colors and mixtures come together in the kitchen.
STEM is something we encourage any parent to start introducing to their home more often. There’s nowhere better for these lessons to take place than in the kitchen. You’ll find that when you start performing some of these experiments together with your child, they’ll soon become more curious and interested in learning about the world around them.