Unit 3.6 Food activities

Food preparation provides many opportunities for children’s development.
A recent Betty Crocker Kitchen Survey of 1000 children ages 10 to 17 found:

  • Nearly 90% of kids feel proud when they have cooked or baked something
  • 80% say cooking and baking are fun
  • 94% of children like when their entire family eats together

More than 70% of children surveyed indicated they would like to help cook more at home

While this survey highlighted children aged 10 years and up, younger children can participate in cooking activities and meal preparation. Young children love stirring in ingredients, helping to measure and pour and selecting recipes.

What is the benefit to cooking with children?

  • They learn about nutrition and healthy food options
  • It allows them to learn and improve on math skills
  • It helps improve reading skills
  • Children can express their creativity
  • It builds pride and self-esteem
  • It is a great way to build relationships
  • It allows them to practice skills such as pouring, stirring, and measuring
  • It helps them to develop sensory awareness (taste, smell, touch)

The bottom line is that while there may be more of a mess or it may take longer, involving the children in cooking and snack planning will help them grow into independent and healthy eaters.

According to current BC Licensing Regulations a licensed child care setting must ensure that each child has healthy food and drink according to Canada’s Food Guide and promote healthy eating and nutritional habits. Some child care settings ask parents to bring lunches and snacks for their children and other settings include meals and snacks in their child care service. Regardless who prepares the food it must be within these regulations.

A nutrition policy helps parents to understand this responsibility of the child care settings. At the same time a nutrition policy can provide parents with meal and snack suggestions.

Education and communication with the parent around the subject of nutrition is just as vital as activities and education with the children.

Brainstorm and share curriculum ideas to promote healthy eating and nutritional habits.