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Teaching Math While Cooking With Kids

I’m sure there are many people out there who never anticipated having to home school their kids, but during this unprecedented time, this is where we find ourselves.  But that doesn’t mean we just have to plop them in front of a computer for hours each day.  Hands on learning can be fun!  Especially in the kitchen.  Combine a practical life skill (cooking) with an academic lesson (math) and teach your children lessons that will last a lifetime!

Cooking with your children can help them learn early math skills; and it doesn’t take a lot of extra time to talk about numbers while preparing food.  And the best part is that it includes quality time spent together while promoting children’s math learning!

Here are some simple ways to incorporate early math concepts into cooking:

Count the Ingredients

  • Start with a small number of ingredients and ask your children to count them one by one. As they count each piece, have them move it to a new pile so they can track what they have counted.
  • Have them divide different ingredients into separate piles.  After they have done this, have them count all of them together to determine the total number of items.
  • Ask your children which piles have more (or less) ingredients.
  • Have them add ingredients to the recipe based on how many of them there are. For example, if you are making a smoothie and there are four strawberries, one banana, and ten blueberries, ask them to add the ingredient that has four items to the blender.

Guess Which Pile Has More Ingredients

  • Create two small groupings of ingredients and ask your children which on has more. Then have them count the number of items in each pile to see if they were correct.  Switch it up next time and ask which pile they think has fewer items.  It can be more challenging for them to estimate “fewer” than “more”.

Add or Take Away Ingredients

  • Once your children can successfully count the number of items used in a recipe, now you can include addition and subtraction concepts by adding or taking away ingredients. For example, add a piece of food to a pile and ask, “now how many do we have?”.  Or, take a piece away and ask, “how many are left?”.   Some children may have to initially count all the items again in order to find the answer, but as they get more comfortable, you can start adding and taking away more items.

Check out these Kid-Friendly Recipes and make learning math fun while spending quality time in the kitchen with your little ones!

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