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Monday, May 21, 2007

Lessons in the Kitchen

There is no better place for learning than in the kitchen. The whole gamut of school subjects from reading to math to history can be practiced in the kitchen. The best part is, when you are done learning, you can eat your materials. One of the best mediums for lessons in the kitchen is pizza and no matter how your pizza will come out, the kids always love eating their own creations afterwards.

Depending on the age of your little assistants there are some basic things that children can learn while cooking pizza.

The basics:
Measurements - this applies to any cooking they will do in the kitchen. Fractions suddenly come to life when they measure out the different ingredients. My girls became very adept at dividing, multiplying, adding, and subtracting fractions because of cooking. They told me how they can 'see' how 3/4 and 3/4 become 1 and 1/2.

Sensory - pizza making is a very sensual experience that is why it is perfect even for very young cooks. Kneading the dough, being able to play with it with your hands much like they do with play-dough is fun all on its own. Start with the flour and let them feel how dry and fluffy it is. Have them run their fingers through a bowl of flour. Then let them try how olive oil and water can feel different even though they are both liquids. You can discuss molecular properties of oil and water with older kids. Let them see how olive oil has a greenish tinge while other oils have a yellower hue. Have them smell the olive oil and yeast. And best of all, they can taste ingredients before and after cooking.

Chemistry - there is no better laboratory than the kitchen. Children can observe changes in matter, from solids, to liquids, to gas, to solids that are all transformed from one state to another. You can be as simple or as detailed as you want to be in your explanation.

History - discuss how pizza became so popular in this country. Where did it originate from? How was it traditionally cooked before invention of the modern stove? The conversation can go on and on.

Pizza making is one of our favorite weekend activities. If you'd like to try it out in your own kitchen, click here for the recipe.


vernaloo said...

Ohhh...I remember the good old days where my sister and I would help our mom bake some donuts and her famous banana cake. My favorite activity is the sifting of the flour :)

We don't get to measure ingredients because sometimes Mama don't measure them at all hahaha

But this is a good idea JMom :) A good bonding activity with the kids :)

HiPnCooLMoMMa said...

hhhmm i never though of that...let them taste and smell the ingredients and i don't even discuss the ingredients with Ish. next time i'll do that. But when it comes to measurements, oh i dont kasi, taktak lang ng taktak. But with baking i do

mrs. pektus said...

i love home made pizza! and i remember last new year when I made my own (using bread instead of dough)... everyone loved it..

auee said...

You know I'm hoping my 3-year old will develop a love, if not passion, for cooking. I allowed him to "help" me since he was 2, so everytime he sees me preparing the kitchen, he'll grab his stepping stool & ask "Cook?" with a stirring motion pa.

Joan said...

Pizza is the one thing my son likes to fix.

ann said...

Korek! When my kids are helping me in the kitchen no matter what the taste, looks and result of their creation, it's still the best for them.

rolly said...

Our chemistry teachers use cooking as part of learning the subject. Great post! And with the recipe, too, huh?