A new family tradition.
With the winter holidays coming right around the corner, you may have some extra time with your children at home. And what better way to make holiday memories and build traditions than to bring the family into the kitchen and bake some sweet homemade treats.
Not only is it about making memories, but cooking and baking offer many STEAM educational opportunities. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
Make science delicious.
The STEAM mindset is about being inquisitive. Wondering where something came from, why it is the way it is, and what may change that. It is about thinking out of the box, learning from unsuccessful attempts and re-evaluating and redesigning for future attempts.
So go to your recipe box and find your favorite, kid friendly holiday recipe, or use one from this list.
Inquisitive minds want to eat.
At every step in the cooking process, encourage you kids to ask questions and wonder. You can start by asking a question yourself as a model for your child. For example, “I wonder how long it takes to grow wheat?”
Talk to your kids about different measurement units. Have them help you read the recipe and select the correct measuring cup to use.
Talk about the change that occurs when wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, about how cookies start out round but then spread out and rise when they get hot in the oven.
Encourage your children to taste each ingredient on its own and guess whether it will taste sweet, salty, bitter, spicy, bland, etc.
Reinforcing good behaviors.
Or simply use this time cooking with your children as an opportunity to help them practice taking turns with siblings and making choices. Remember to enthusiastically praise and provide access to positive reinforcers for good behavior.
If assembly or decoration is required for your holiday treats, provide your child with lots of colorful options and encourage them to think outside of the box. Try exploring different patterns they can make in the icing with a fork versus a spoon, or encourage them to try making patterns in their sugar cookie designs. Your holiday treats may only last a few days, but the memories and traditions will last a lifetime.
To learn more about STEM and STEAM, check out this link.
This savory blog post was written by Brook Wheetley, M.S., BCBA, LBA