There is an activity that my kids do everyday. Almost by accident it has become a central part of our homeschooling. It is something that they started asking for my help with and have now moved onto doing with very little involvement from me. They do this in the morning, afternoon or evening. Whenever they feel compelled.
They have shared this ritual with their cousins who now engage in this process with them every time they are all together. (Which is at least 3 times a week). The other Saturday night my two children and their three cousins worked on the activity for 3 hours nonstop. Researching, recording, collaborating, and creating. From the 5 year olds to the oldest at 10 years old, they all play a part in the process.
It’s cooking and baking.
It’s such a simple activity that has become a wonderful part of our daily life. My husband and I have always been believers that kids can do a lot of what adults can do. We just have to let them. Both of our children have helped in the kitchen since the age of 2. This has included stirring the food on the stove, helping plan meals, cooking and seasoning food and chopping vegetables. Yes, using a real knife and chopping the food.
By helping with real things in the kitchen, they have learned that they are a real, valuable help, that they are capable individuals, and what they do matters.
We have always baked cookies together, but when we were living in Seoul, Korea I was excited to do more when we bought a small oven for our apartment. We started baking sweet treats the rare afternoon until it became a more regular occurrence.
Soon the kids decided they were going to choose they treats we would bake. After a small amount of time they were independently going online, finding recipes, writing down the ingredients and asking to purchase them so they could make their new recipe.
They did this often enough that they now are confident enough to search, find, start, and complete a recipe on their own, even with some improvisations. They make their own crepes for breakfast, cookies, and cupcakes for dessert, and with the encouragement of their cousins, are looking into making dinners for the family.
Ronan is 8 and Zahra is 5.
Sure there are so many skills that they are using in the process. Math (fractions, measuring, adding, estimating and more), Reading, Writing (with their cousins they have also decided to create their own family recipe book), Science. But there is also the valuable skills of creating and experimentation, research, communication, independence, confidence, and just having fun in what you do.
What else can children do if we let them?