Last week the Cat & Owl team hosted a special guest - Ava (10), baker extraordinaire! Ava cheerfully and skillfully took on the challenge of leading Will (4) and Asha (3) through two muffin recipes. She did not disappoint and neither did the final products. As Asha put it so perfectly, I know what the best part about cooking is...EATING IT!
By: Ava & Beth
Special thanks to our guest blogger, Ava, for spending time with us this week!
Kids love to make food, they love to make messes and they love to eat, especially sugary treats like muffins. It was a perfect Friday night activity for the kiddos. Ava and Beth had all the ingredients and supplies on the kitchen island ready to go and had agreed upon the purpose of this activity: to incorporate numbers and math concepts into a fun, hands-on activity for Asha and Will. First up was chocolate-chip-banana-muffins, recipe here, then onto blueberry-crumb-muffins, recipe here.
The cooking process went something like this: Beth retrieved ingredients and cleared stuff from the counter while Ava did everything else. She explained to Asha and Will things like ‘what amount of an ingredient was needed for the recipe’ and ‘how to be precise in measuring.’ Ava pointed out the measurement label located on the wrapper of the stick of butter. She explained what the measuring cups were used for and even used a dull knife to scrape excess flour off the top. She helped Asha and Will take turns adding and stirring ingredients and assisted their (very) eager hands with mixer duty. By this point you’ve noticed that Beth wasn’t really doing much and probably should have been “paying” Ava in a currency more valuable than muffins (though they were delicious!)
Beth’s favorite parts of the experience: Watching (literally) Ava take the reigns with ease to do something she enjoys while having FUN and helping Asha and Will better understand math concepts (without their even knowing it.) Favorite line of the day was when Ava coached Will in using the masher, “Squish the banana, Will. Tell it who’s boss!” Will was very happy to oblige. In general, Ava’s patience and precision with Asha and Will was nothing short of impressive.
Ava’s favorite part of the experience: Teaching Will and Asha how to follow a recipe and bake the muffins. I felt like they were having a great time, and I was having a great time, too. They were both really cooperative. We had other members of the team -- Louisa (1) and Anya (a week shy of her first birthday) who were there, too. Some of our team members left the cooking project, but they were always a part of it.
Cooking with Kids: Tips & Stuff from Around the Web
If you are looking for ways to play math and engage in hands-on learning fun, well, here you go:
Check out this useful article, including tips for parents that describe the mechanics and tools with some great ideas about creating visual aids to help children conceptualize the cooking process. We especially love the concept of creating a “Picture Recipe.”
Here’s another great article on making math fun and appealing to a child who already loves math and for anyone who might need some culinary enticement to play math.