Earlier this week as I was drying my hair…. or should I say, trying to dry my hair, this happened. MT walked in and asked “mammy, can we make something?”. This is very common these days and she has started showing an interest in taking the lead in the kitchen and demoting me to sous chef! MT likes to tell me that she has an idea and verbally lists what we will need to make it.
So in order to get just a couple more minutes to finish blow drying my hair, I told her she should go and write a recipe for what she wanted to make. She was delighted and ran off to get the paper and a pen.
This is her first recipe which she came back in to show me proudly, which I of course had to leave the rest of my hair for later and go make her recipe she had so eagerly returned with. A definite proud moment!
The recipe is inspired by her favourite cooks Charli and Ashlee. MT will sit and watch these girls in action picking out which recipes she wants to try! She has made her own version of their Frozen pops recipe and this is it!
I asked MT to read her recipe for me and this is what I analysed.
MT started at the top of the page where the dots are. This is where we start to write & read starting from left and moving to right, from the top to the bottom of the page. The dots represent sprinkles.
Next MT listed a cloud like object which she called melted chocolate (candy melt)
Underneath this, the 8 blue circles represent marshmallows for dipping into the chocolate and covering with sprinkles!
and finally the lines underneath are cake pop sticks.
MT did not list the ingredients in order of how she needed them (which I only learned in recent years myself!!) but I did notice that if you look at the picture it shows almost an order to it. The cake pop stick is in the correct position to the marshmallow and on top of the marshmallow, the chocolate and sprinkles are located again how they will be in the finished product!
This stage is known as pre-writing. It is an incredibly important stage and it is important that the child receives exposure to achieve all the skills necessary to then move on. I am an advocate to building these skills in the kitchen and key activities are; sieving, spooning, stirring (a really tricky skill and one that will really strengthen those muscles used for writing), using a tongs, kneading, pouring and more. All these activities are “work” but the child only perceives them as fun as they cook and bake to their hearts content!
In addition to the actual motor activities that will build the muscles in preparation to writing the following are also activities that will help prepare the child:
Books – surrounding your child with books will expose them to language, and the purpose of written text. Read with your child. I like to read recipes aloud while we cook/bake so MT understands that this is where we are getting our information from and to learn how we turn the pages from start to finish.
Away from the kitchen, our favourite children’s story at the moment is How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.
Language Skills – Talk with your child. This is why I love spending time in the kitchen. You make the time to purposefully be with your child, answering all those inquisitive questions and talking about what to expect from your ingredients i.e. will the butter melt?, is the butter soft or hard?, is the mixture sticky?, Is the vegetable rough or smooth?, big or small? Its time out for both of you and the benefits are vast.
Motor skills – we’ve mentioned motor skills above. I would like to add one more to this and that is Playdough. Make some playdough in the kitchen together and then your child will have hours of fun afterwards playing with it while also building motor skills. Some parents dislike playdough because it’s messy but I see too many benefits to mind the mess!
Writing recipes – My new one!! Ask your child to write a recipe. Of course the final product will depend on the stage your child is at but it is their effort and achievement that counts. Make a note on the back and collect them over time to record their writing stages and progress!
What do you think?? Interesting or codswallop??
Going to try this with my 2. They’re always making up recipes in their pretend kitchen. I should let them do it for real. They’ll love it.
Oh great! Let me know how they get on 🙂
My six year old has been in the kitchen with me since day one and has a little notebook he used to get me to write his recipes into. He would dictate and I would write. Now that he can read, he loves trying out stuff from his two real cookbooks he owns.
So far my fou year old is only really interested in cracking eggs, stirring and licking the bowl, but as long as he shows any interest at all, I am happy.
I am a big fan of using cooking and especially baking to help understand maths and for improving motor skills. It is so easy to incorporate it for all ages of children. From colours to textures to counting, reading and doing mathematical exercises, it is all possible.
This blog is a great idea.
Thanks so much Fionnuala. I really enjoy having MT in the kitchen with me especially as she loves it so much too. I’m a bit like yourself – have been in a few different countries over the past few years and the kitchen seems to be the common denominator in every place we’ve been 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
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