How to make math at home FUN with simple and enjoyable food projects that are family AND kid-friendly!
Cooking is such an engaging pastime, especially for young kids. It cultivates creativity, direction, time management, and a wide array of other necessary life skills.
Have you ever noticed just how much math (and science) is integrated into cooking? I mean, it’s ingrained into nearly every aspect of the process. You barely even notice how meticulous the mathematical functions are, mainly because it’s already written out for you; it’s simply a matter of following instructions.
Creating a meal, snack, anything… can become a great opportunity to exercise some GNARLY brainpower!
And the best part of it all? This can become a learning activity for any student learning the fundamentals of math- and they may not notice it either! And if they do, that’s okay; cooking is still much more fun and lenient than doing homework and taking tests.
So, what are some ways to exercise math when cooking with a young mind? Here is a multitude of projects you can start incorporating NOW into their daily routine to strengthen their math skills! We even included some yummy foods that can help you effectively practice each skill!
Fun Cooking Projects To Incorporate Math AT HOME!
Geometric and/or Shaped Cookies: This can be done in an assortment of ways! Kids love making cookies, ESPECIALLY into fun shapes! Therefore, this is a WONDERFUL chance to introduce basic geometry! How? You can purchase basic geometrically shaped cookie cutters to have your child name (and count the sides) as you prepare them for baking! Cookies are just such a great snack to include shapes; there are so many different shaped cutters, you can get creative when incorporating shapes into your kid’s realm of knowledge!
Learning Weight with Pound Cake: Originally, pound cake is known for its weighted measurements that equal one pound, hence the name! You can look up a classic pound cake recipe to teach your child how to weigh ingredients as equal parts with the help of a scale! If you don’t have access to a scale (and measurement conversions are within their current area of learning), guide them through calculating the ingredients!
Converting Fractions With Pizza: Whether it’s a night of take-out or at-home pizza making, this is an easy and digestible approach to introducing fractions! Cut the pizza into equal pieces (or it should come that way already), and ask your child to count how many pieces there are in total. Then, you can ask them how many slices equate to each (and simple) fraction. For example: how many slices equal one half? A great benefit of this project is that the pizza works as a good visual aid!
Remembering Patterns with Lasagna: As many of us know, lasagna is a tedious yet rewarding dish. It requires layering varied ingredients to achieve that seamless flavor and texture. Start by preparing all the separate lasagna makings (cheese, pasta sheets, sauce, meat, or veggies if they are within your dietary parameters), and then demonstrate the pattern for your child. Once they get the hang of it, they’ll learn the pattern in no time!
Measuring Volume with Fruit Punch: Liquid measurements are slightly more advanced, but still a solid introduction to the world of volume (in geometry AND science). Find a fun recipe that mixes different juices or sweet beverages (you can make up your own if you want). By showing how different mixtures of liquid create a set amount of servings or general amount of product, it’s much easier for the child to understand through a yummy drink than with a textbook definition!
Basic Counting with Snacks: Many people utilize counting as an effective tool for snacking with young kids. You can pretty much do this project with any kind of snack that has bite-sized pieces! Next time your child asks for a snack, ask them to count how many are in front of them before eating; if they count correctly, give them a few more (this also incorporates basic addition). Kids also love to show off their growing counting skills, so they’ll thoroughly enjoy this exercise with a snack they love to eat with their hands!
Telling Time with Cooking/Baking Instructions: While this is a very general type of project, it’s quite the useful one! If you’re working on a dish with a young child, then there’s a good chance you’ll be following clear-cut directions to ensure minimal mistakes. Time management is such an integral skill to acquire when older, there’s no time like the present to start! Buy or use a handheld timer and have the child set it to the instructed time; you can even divide it up into parts and write it out for them so they feel motivated to see the dish through!
Ratios with Fruit Salad: Gather a desirable amount of fruit your child will enjoy (especially mixed). Whether it’s equal or different parts, have the child count how many pieces of each ingredient there are so they can try to decipher the measurable parts of the whole. A good tip is to try and keep the numbers of the ratios equally divisible (if your child is just starting with ratio work).
What are some of your favorite family friendly foods you eat at home? Try to experiment with them to see if they are representative of a relevant math lesson your child can grasp!