Start early with cooking to build up social and emotional skills

About: the benefits of learning to cook for social-emotional development as a First Principle

Hands on cooking activities help children develop confidence and skill.
Following recipes encourages children to be self-directed and independent, it also teaches them to follow directions and develop problem-solving skills. There are many skills involved in our daily such as cooking. There are opportunities to learn life skills and develop these skills daily. A foundation of like skills prepares kids for independence and success in their adult lives.

Planning, organizing, purchasing food, and preparing snacks & meals which are part of cooking. In addition, there are many learning outcomes such as; healthy eating habits, taking direction, creativity, working with others, safety and responsibility. And also many practical techniques and methods such as hygienic handling and storing food, handling knives, operating ovens, stoves and equipment such as blenders and many techniques to preparing and serving food. So, there are many life skills used in cooking that can be used to develop life skills.

Here is an overview

  • Doing research. Finding a recipe or determining what is good and/or of interest to others, asking friends and family for ideas they have tried and like.
  • Planning activities. Understanding what you need to prepare food, budgeting food costs and scheduling of time commitments.
  • Preparing food. There are many skills involved such as cutting, marinating, mixing, heating, cooling, storage etc. There are many resources available such as books, blogs, websites and videos to show you how to prepare food. How to find them and use them.
  • Health and safety are important considerations for kids and anyone who touches and prepares food. There is a need to learn safety around a kitchen such as handling knives and equipment, first aid procedures, operating a stove and oven and the safe handling of food.
  • Quality Control. Learning to take the necessary steps to ensure the product is good, cleaned, stored properly, preparation surfaces are cleaned and equipment is cleaned properly.
  • Product Testing. This is a fun part of cooking. Sampling and tasting to ensure the product tastes good. Everyone would like to be an official food taster.
  • Creative Skill Development. There are many opportunities to be creative around food. You can create your own recipes or make improvements and your own changes to published recipes.
  • Social and emotional skills. Time spent around food with others or for others is a good time to develop social skills and emotional skills.
  • Team work. Cooking is a great activity to work with others. To learn to succeed with the help and expertise of others. To draw from the talent and experiences from others.
  • Marketing healthy food. Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers for selling that product or service. In this case the people who each the food can be considered customers.
  • Creativity. There are opportunities to be creative by helping people understand what food is good for them and what they should be eating. We need a change in attitude to consider good food a treat vs. junk food. We need more education on avoiding foods such as gluten, sugar and processed foods. We need to understand the many food allergies people may have and how food can effect our health.
  • Promoting healthy food. There are many ways to promote what you cook. Parties and family get together are a good way to attract people, cultural and theme nights can be fun and educational.
  • Have some fun with thinking of ways to promote your creation – thinking about how you can convince people around the world to eat your food creation. Think of ways you would create awareness through social media.
  • Taking responsibility. A key skill is the ability to take responsibility for your actions and for tasks/jobs/activities. By learning to all aspects of cooking; kids will learn to take responsibility for each of the many steps to cooking – even cleaning up.
  • Entrepreneurial skills. Cooking is a good way to develop entrepreneurial skills in thinking about business opportunities which can be created from you food creations, cooking equipment, restaurant and franchise possibilities.
  • Become independent. Cooking is often considered one of the last skills to teach kids before college/university and for independence.
  • Presentation skills. An element of cooking is the presentation of the food. There are many presentation skills to be learned from cooking which apply to other experiences.

There are many other important life skills developed through cooking. Here are a few more:

  • Working on your own and with others.
  • Following instructions.
  • Learning good nutrition and eating habits.
  • Learning good manners.
  • Learning about other countries where foods are grown.
  • Learning about health concerns from eating food such as sugar and how it is related to obesity.
  • Interest and knowledge of food.

Preparing food for others from an early age is probably one of the best ways to learn emotional and social skills. Food is a strong emotional trigger for most people and also a social trigger. People like to talk about what they like to eat and drink with others and it creates a bonding that can be important for any relationship, from personal relationships to casual relationship or work relationship and last but not least also the relationship with yourself. There is nothing better than to prepare something healthy and tasty for yourself after a long day of work or coming back from exercising. We will post regularly ideas and recipes for healthy, tasty and colorful food on this website.

Recommendation: start with some very easy to cook and very healthy and delicious dishes. Go full circle with easy recipes such as moussaka or black bean pizza.

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