Kids Cooking Ideas turn into Math Lessons

March 11, 2009

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Blueberry pie cups, carrot cake, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (batch #1 VERY salty), and biscuits a bit like hocky pucks?

Guess what my 9-year-old has been doing for school this week?  Well in a bit of a fit, we threw our school work out the window (figuratively) and decided to try doing a ‘Project Week’.  My idea.  So, the older two kids could pick anything they wanted to learn, work on, create, build, etc., and would put in some effort every day with the goal being to show and/or demonstrate what they’d done to the rest of the family at the end of the week.

We had a mis-start with a Volcano lapbook (He wouldn’t spend time on it on his own, which defeats the purpose.  So I said, “Throw it away, and pick something you really want to do this time.”).  Then I suggested he take a cookbook and pick anything he wanted to make and do one recipe a day.  Success!  He loves poring through the book and making anything he wants, preferably desserts!

How is this school?  What could he possibly be learning?

  • How to read fractions.  (math)
  • How to read measurements.  1t of salt is NOT the same as 1T of salt.  A partially filled cup of flour is not the same as 1 C of flour. (math, again)
  • How to be careful around sharp knives, hot stoves, food processor blades.  (safety, operating small equipment, electricity, heat transfer, science, responsibility)
  • “Why is cooking even worth it if no likes what you make and throws it in the garbage?”  He says, with tears in his eyes after the very salty ‘gaggy’ cookies. (So, empathy for Mom cooking all these years)
  • Following a recipe.  (reading comprehension, sequenced directions)
  • All stages of a project:  planning, preparation, execution, and clean-up. 
  • (Here’s the clean-up rule that works for us:  I come into the kitchen like a detective trying to find some evidence that he was cooking.  When I can’t, he’s done.  Except for the finished food, of course, which my son informed me is also evidence he was cooking.  Hmmph!  Kids are such lawyers!) 
  • Seeing your work appreciated, when we all devoured the pies, cakes, and 2nd batch of cookies.  (achievement, accomplishment, pride in new ‘adult’ skills, growing up)
  • And best of all, spending time doing something you enjoy, serves others, and is school, all at the same time.

(I’m hoping we can transition him to a love of good EXERCISE programs after this cooking stint!)

How to you get your kids involved in the kitchen and cooking?  Any good tips?

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Posted under Homeschool Activities, Homeschool Life


7 Comments so far

  1. docmisty March 23, 2013 2:12 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  2. Dennis March 23, 2013 12:41 am

    A colleague linked me to your website. Thanks for the resources.

  3. Cristi April 30, 2009 11:54 am

    This is so cool, I am Studying to be a teacher in South Africa. It is so cool to get some ideas for Maths lessons.

  4. Jimmie April 15, 2009 2:51 am

    I agree. This is brilliant! Math, life skills, and no need to cook desserts (yourself) this week!
    Our whole study of fractions was caused by my daughter’s confusion over a recipe — 212 cups of flour. WHAT?? That’s 2 and 1/2 cups of flour. Very important stuff.

  5. Misty March 14, 2009 3:12 pm

    Thank you!

    And I agree on the chopping. Kids are facinated by knives, and can be easily taught to use them safely – with lots of supervision to start with. Have you noticed how much confidence kids gain by learning to do ‘adult’ activities?

  6. sarah March 11, 2009 9:37 pm

    I can distinctly remember a little 4 year old boy kneading bread with me and saying, “Mom, this is like a pattern…push, pull, push, pull, push, pull…” and then I thought “That’s Math for the day!”
    I love cooking with the kids — for some reason, my kids LOVE to chop things, any thing! I usually give them the job of chopping potatoes or carrots. I cut one piece the way I want it to look and leave it out for them to refer to…and they get to work.

  7. Scribbler March 11, 2009 7:12 am

    I am amazed, you are a genius! I wish I had met you when I was teaching in Thailand.


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