Cooking is a wonderful activity that all can get involved with, whether you’re a seasoned cook passing on your skills or someone who is learning their first recipe. As part of Cook and Share, we have a variety of bespoke resources to support you, so it’s a brilliant time to try out cooking with children.
The Cooking and Nutrition curriculum in England suggests children develop cooking skills through primary and secondary school so that they have a repertoire of recipes to leave school with, setting them up for a good relationship with food throughout their lives.
Read on to find out why cooking is so beneficial for children.
Whether it’s mashing potatoes or tearing herbs, preparing and cooking food is an engaging and sensory experience for children. It encourages conversation, new experiences and can even involve games which involve counting or guessing.
It develops skills for life
Cooking activities require precision and accuracy which develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination – for younger children, using their hands to shape, arrange and present food is a great way to use these skills. For older children, chopping, following instructions and making adaptations are all useful skills developed when cooking.
It encourages creativity
It’s a great way for children to get creative, too, and the sense of pride from creating a meal that looks and tastes great can help children to feel confident trying and enjoying new foods.
It builds confidence
Is there any better feeling than eating something delicious you’ve prepared? Having this experience early on can build children’s confidence and self-esteem, not only in cooking but in trying new things, making decisions and making conversation.
It’s a way to share important information early
Cooking together means talking about food hygiene, food storage, knife safety, portion sizes, packaging and waste, environmental impact and nutrition. The earlier this awareness begins, the more embedded this will be in the future, setting children up with the knowledge to make healthy and sustainable decisions throughout their lives.
It gets families and communities together
Cooking together across generations keeps family traditions alive and builds cultural pride, such as baking for Christmas, making sweet treats for Diwali, or passing on the secret family chicken soup recipe!
Looking for cooking inspiration? You can view our brand-new Cook and Share Month resources here to find plenty of recipe ideas and practical guides on food safety, slow cooking and running your own autumn event. If you are running a cooking event or activity, make sure to register it as part of Cook and Share here!