Cooking with children is an important activity to help them learn autonomy and to bring them closer to a correct diet. Katia Casprini and Roberta Guidotti talk about it in the book Mamma I cook alone! (Red Editions).
A way to entertain and grow the little ones in a healthy way? Cook with them, involving them and leaving them a certain degree of autonomy.
The two writers Katia Casprini and Roberta Guidotti talk about it in the book Mamma I cook alone! (Red Edizioni), which contains many suggestions for creating Montessori-inspired activities that bring children closer to good food and proper nutrition. The recipes illustrated in the text, easy and intuitive, with the good taste of the past, are an opportunity for children to acquire autonomy: so their realization can turn into a fun moment of shared growth.
We interviewed Katia Casprini, who told us about the benefits of cooking with children and gave us some tips to help the little ones do this creative activity in the best possible way.
In this article
Why is it important to cook with children?
“For immediately create a healthy relationship with food in them is to help them make a selection of healthy ingredients. This activity develops a series of olfactory sensations, touch, sight, the perception of the difference in the consistency of the ingredients, the recognition of food.
It is part of the activities of practical life, as Maria Montessori said: it trains them in greater eye-manual coordination, in sequencing, in learning the various steps. Teach them to take care of themselves and to eat healthy.
From an early age it is important to give them this nutritional knowledge that passes through play, but which also lays the foundations for a healthy relationship with food. It is also a pleasant activity to do as a family and it is a moment of union and play between child and adult. The little ones like it very much, because it is also part of one of the activities of imitating the things that adults do ».
What are the benefits?
“The benefits are many: letting them experiment in the kitchen is a practical life exercise, thanks to which they use their skills and learn to overcome any obstacles independently, acquiring a strong ability to concentrate for the activity they are carrying out.
Then, with this activity, they also develop good dexterity and increase self-confidence and the surrounding environment.
They also measure themselves with an activity consisting of a sequence of tasks to be carried out with a specific purpose. All this contributes to strengthening their autonomy, which passes from a healthy self-esteem.
The children from three years old I am able to carry out the recipes in the book independently ».
Tips for learning autonomy thanks to the Montessori method in the kitchen
1. «Children really like being in the kitchen with adults and the adult’s task is to help them find themselves in an environment suitable for them, in which they feel free to experiment. Do not be frightened if something is not perfect or makes mistakes, or if there are flaws in what they create. On the contrary, the freedom to experiment will favor the conquest of freedom and independence and will be a strong basis for the consolidation of self-esteem.
2. Create an area suitable for them, with at hand the ingredients they need and the tools suitable for their little hands. Children will have a lot of fun experimenting with these recipes and will be satisfied with the final result, eating the fruit of their work with relatives.
3. Always leave the children free to experiment, especially if they have ideas on variations or decorations, following their intuition and their creativity.
4. Do not interrupt them and do not continually try to help them, if there is no real need. Better make sure they have their moment of concentration ».
“Mom, I cook myself”
«The idea for the book comes from being in the kitchen with the children, after their constant requests to do it on their own. After hearing “Mom I’ll do it myself!” Several times, we studied a method by combining illustrations and photographic images to make the little ones completely autonomous in the preparation of a cake. So you don’t need to know how to read: only a cooking spoon and a jar of yogurt are used, therefore the children can independently follow the progress of the recipe. The approach is simplified.
The ingredients are presented through the illustrations: like this children recognize the symbols of the ingredients (which are also few, to facilitate their understanding independently), and, even if they cannot read, they can still complete the preparation, obviously with the supervision of the adult and the collaboration of this in case they ask for help. But up to the cooking stage they are completely autonomous: this is a great success for them and promotes a series of benefits.
The book contains nine recipes (pancakes, muffins, yogurt cakes, etc.) that the child can perform independently. It is a laboratory-book ».
K. Casprini – R. Guidotti, “Mom cook alone” (Red Edizioni).