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Exploring ideas and getting your children to help you cook is a great way to aid the teaching of the national curriculum in key stage one and two. Cooking activities do not have to be boring or messy but fun and entertaining. And of course, the bonus is that children learn how to cook different dishes!
By involving cooking activities within your home dynamic your child will be actively learning without noticing or getting overwhelmed with the stress of school. Part of this activity could be starting from the very beginning of the process: writing a list, going to the shop, buying the products, and bringing them back home.
“Next time your child asks why maths is so important, remind them that it lives in everything we do and that is the beauty of it”
Cooking Activities are a great example of how maths works in the big world!
Weights and Conversion with Pound Cake:
This cake originates from Northern Europe; however, the recipe has been found in the U.S. first cookbook, which was published in 1796.
The name comes from how it is made, there is exactly one pound of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. In the U.K. we know that there are 0.455Kg in one pound (lb).
This is a great opportunity to show your kids the conversion between proportions, weights, the differences in the metric system and how to find and resolve conversions. Start by exploring the subject by asking questions such as: what weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks? Allow them to use the kitchen scales to explore these ideas and to make a delicious pound cake of their own!
3, 2, 1... Go! Pancakes:
Pancakes have been the nation’s favourite for a while, we even have our own day dedicated to pancakes. Cooking up some delicious pancakes is a great cooking activity to engage your child in the simple forms of mathematics. The name of the pancakes comes from how it is made – similar to the pound cake – the basic ingredients consist of:
300ml milk 2 eggs 100g grams of flour
Here you can ask your children to guess what ingredients are needed and how much they need keeping in mind the name of the pancakes and how each ingredient is measured, e.g.: Flour is measured in cups, kilos, and grams.
Fractions and Salad Dressing:
This recipe will be sure to be fun and nourishing – who said salads have to be boring?
You can create your own salad dressing or follow our quick and easy recipe to teach your kids what they need to know about fractions.
You could ask them how they would find out what the fractions in the recipe are in decimals, or how to double the recipe. Playing with these techniques can really aid the development of understanding fractions and decimals.
Making cookies or biscuits are a great cooking activity to explore the different types of shapes there are. Whilst baking, you could ask your children if they can come up with the best shape that makes them have the most cookies, are these shapes identical? When these shapes are cut up, are more shapes made?
Timing a Roast:
We all know how stressful it can be to cook a full roast dinner if timings are not considered. So why not explore time and how to manage it through this nourishing and classic dinner as a cooking activity?
If the protein of your dinner takes two hours to cook, how long is that in minutes? Therefore, at what time do we start prepping the vegetables and cooking them? At what time do the roast vegetables have to go in the oven?
This is also a great opportunity to explain how the oven functions in the sense of how heat is distributed equally, the consequences of having a tray too high up in the oven and the heat – which is either measured through Celsius (°C) or Gas marks.
Counting and Milkshakes:
Milkshakes have always been popular, but the best of all is that you can make a milkshake out of anything – that’s eatable of course. This cooking activity is sure to get the whole family involved!
Between you all, choose what you would like in your milkshake some people have just strawberries and milk, others get more creative by adding slices of banana and even peanut butter!! Here you can ask your children how many ml of water or milk they will be using, how many fruits? How much time they will blend the fruit for?
Ratios and Potato Omelette:
Traditionally, this omelette comes from Spain, and it is known as “tortilla de patata”. This omelette relies on ratios to get the perfect juicy finish. For an omelette of three potatoes, you must have four eggs, meaning the ratio for this recipe is 3:4. You can explore this ratio by changing it and making an omelette with a ratio of 1.5:3 or 6:8. Changing the ratio affects the size and the consistency of the omelette.
Why not give this recipe a go? You can find the recipe on BBC Goodfood.
A lasagne can be quite difficult to make if not considering the equal parts of each ingredient. Take for example the béchamel (white sauce), the ingredients must be equal meaning if you put 100ml of milk, you must also put 100g of flour. Going back to ratios, this means that for a béchamel sauce you need a ratio of 1:1.
This cooking activity will aid the understanding of ratios by investigating how changing each side of the ratio affects the outcome of the sauce.
For a quick and easy béchamel recipe, check out BBC good food or the web!
There are many cooking activities you and your family can explore to accompany your child’s mastery journey. These recipes are just the start, you can challenge your children into gaining a better understanding of mathematics whilst also learning essential life skills such as kitchen hygiene, safety, and nourishment.