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Playing with Food: How Math and Cooking are a Natural Pair

by Makinya Ward on June 30, 2016
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You may tell your child not to play with their food at the dinner table, but "playing" with food while cooking can be a great way to help your child learn math. There are many wonderful preschool recipes you can use, or you can follow your own favorites. Here are some positive parenting techniques for helping your child learn math in the kitchen:

shutterstock_370343510.jpgBuild Basic Number Sense

When you cook together, let your child see the recipe and count the number of ingredients to build basic skills. Better yet, they can help you count as you make the recipe too. Do you need two eggs? Have your child count the eggs as you take them out of the carton and then count as you put them in the bowl. Let them count out loud as you put each ingredient in the bowl to "check" to see if you are doing it correctly!

Learn Fractions

Positive parenting means teaching kids things during daily life situations. Most cooking involves fractions and this is a wonderful way to make 1/2, 1/4 and other fractions real for your child. As you make soup, have them help you cut a carrot in half and then in fourths. Talk about what the fractions mean as you demonstrate them. Show your child the 1, 1/2, 1/4 and 1/3 measuring cups. Let them use rice or water to practice those fractions. How many 1/3 measures can you pour into 1 cup? How many teaspoons make up one tablespoon?

Teaching Comparisons

Another wonderful way that kids can "catch" math terms is when you use math vocabulary words as you spend time in the kitchen. For example, you can help them see sequence by talking about how things are done in order of first, second, third and fourth. You can explain comparisons of size by asking them, "Which cookie is bigger?" or "Which is the smallest mushroom?" Even better, you can practice addition and subtraction by noticing "How many strawberries are left when we use 5?"

When you teach your kids math through cooking, you also encourage them to try new foods and become interested in a variety of food textures, smells and tastes. By using this positive parenting technique, you can expand on what your children learn at Kids Konnect Preschool. What's your favorite recipe to cook with your children?

Topics: Child development, math activities