Cooking with your kids can have great rewards. You will make memories that last a lifetime, help keep their brains active and reduce summer learning loss, and you might even get cookies in the end!
Today is day 5 of our 10 Days of Summertime Learning Fun, and I have been having so much fun bringing you my ideas to help reduce the “summer slide.” Experts say that some children have lost up to three months of learning from the previous year when they go back to school in the fall. Some homeschooling families avoid this learning loss by schooling year round with shorter breaks spread throughout the year. Although I don’t exactly school year-round, I have found some ways to keep my kids’ brains engaged and learning throughout the summer!
Making Memories… and Good Eats
When I was growing up, my Grandma and Grandpa lived many miles away in Alaska and we only got to see them every two or three years. They would pack up an RV and drive the thousands of miles to visit all of the kinfolk who lived in the lower 48. I have fond memories of the times when they would come to stay at our house for a week or two. There was pinching of cheeks and lots of big fish stories and jars and jars of smoked salmon. My grandpa was a professional fisherman, pastor, home builder, and pilot, so there were plenty of hours spent listening to stories of their adventures in Alaska.
But my favorite memories of their visits to our home were Grandma’s hot rolls. They were legendary really. I don’t really know how she did it, but they were always so yummy. She gave me the recipe, and although I followed it word for word, my rolls never tasted quite like hers did. I think she baked lots of love in there. That always makes it better.
And she would make the best enchiladas you have ever tasted. We would all work together in the kitchen rolling meat into corn tortillas, laughing and chatting the whole time. These are some of my favorite memories of my Grandma. She passed away a few months ago after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, but I will always cherish the moments we shared in my mom’s kitchen so many years ago.
Learning Life Skills and More
I believe every kid should be taught to cook before they leave home. It’s a life skill that sadly many young people don’t obtain. Cooking with your kids and teaching them to cook gives them the skills to live life as an adult, and it might just make memories that last a lifetime.
Cooking together teaches essential life skills, but it also reinforces math, chemistry, and motor skills.
Ever doubled or halved a recipe? That takes math skills.
Ever forgotten to put the baking soda or baking powder in your cookies? It’s the chemical reactions that cause the cookies to rise, and when you forget one ingredient, the cookies won’t taste right.
Ever chopped carrots or rolled pie crust? Your motor skills are being engaged.
So get into the kitchen with your kiddos this summer. It’s a great way to get in some sneaky summertime learning. And maybe end up with some cookies too!
Practicing what I preach
I had this post almost ready to go, when I realized I haven’t cooked with my girls in quite some time. I have taught them to cook well enough that I rarely cook dinner anymore. K came to me this afternoon and asked what I wanted for dinner. I was in the middle of a big yard job, so I told her to just cook whatever she wanted. So when I came in from outside, she had cooked a big pot of homemade Mac and Cheese and baked chicken in the oven, and sliced some watermelon. It was a delicious dinner that she cooked all by herself.
But I have decided that I must practice what I preach and actually get in the kitchen with my kids. So I went searching for one of my favorite cookie recipes ever – Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies. These are awesome for summertime because they don’t require you to turn on the oven! And good for kids because they are easy and taste so good!
I grew up making this recipe, but have since lost the original recipe, so I did what every good mom does… asked Google! I think this recipe is pretty close to the original that I used to make all those years ago.
So Princess and I went into the kitchen this evening, and whipped up a batch of no bakes. She said she has never made them before, but I’m not sure if I believe her because she seemed to know just what to do.
There was measuring and stirring and plopping cookies on foil since I didn’t have any parchment paper. A whole 7.5 minutes worth of work. It was harder waiting for the cookies to set so we could eat them!
Do you get in the kitchen with your kids? What is your favorite recipe to cook together?