Cooking with Kids Builds Math Skills

There’s no better way for children to acquire the foundational skills they need for academic success than through daily (practical) life activities. It can be tempting to set our child down in front of the television so we can prepare dinner, or to have them sit at the table with an activity to keep their hands busy.

We would certainly accomplish our task much more quickly without them underfoot. But we would also be missing out on an opportunity for building connections with our child and opportunities for building important skills for later academic success, including number sense—plus many other benefits!

In the kitchen, as we measure and weigh ingredients, our children are introduced to basics such as addition and subtraction as well as more advanced concepts such as multiplication, division, ratio, proportion, estimation, conversions, and fractions! We might explore the metric system and the imperial system, as well as temperature and time.

cooking with preschool kids

While young children might not understand these concepts, the more frequently they are exposed to them, the more they are embedded into long-term memory. Repeated exposure is required for neural connections to form permanent pathways.

It’s important to know that exposure to concepts that are beyond the developmental scope of the child is imperative for their acquisition of knowledge. Imagine if an infant was never exposed to language until they were developmentally ready to speak. That infant would face significant delays in the language acquisition process.

We are not expecting a toddler or preschooler to add fractions or double a recipe – instead, our emphasis is on connecting with our children and doing and accomplishing something together. This creates a joyful context for learning, feeding the child’s curiosity and hunger for learning and relationship!

young boy learning to cook
preschooler cooking
preschool children cooking


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