The Top 7 Reasons to Teach Your Kids to Cook

Nothing kicks off the holiday season quite like the smell of a homemade pumpkin pie. Well, except maybe a turkey slowly roasting in the oven. The point is, food is an essential part of the season of gratitude and giving. This year, start a new holiday tradition that you can practice throughout the year—cook with your kids.

OK, we know what you’re thinking: sharknado in the kitchen. However, teaching your children to cook has so many benefits, it may just make the flour twisters worth it.

To minimize stress, follow a few simple tips:

shutterstock_22144966

• Start off with relaxing meals and simple dishes. Think Sunday brunch or Christmas cookies on a Saturday afternoon. You’ll have more time to answer questions, monitor your child’s progress—and clean up.
• Teach age-appropriate tasks. There’s nothing more heart-stopping thant seeing a kindergartener with a chef’s knife. Young children can mix and stir, tear lettuce or spread butter on toast using a dull knife. Older children can measure out ingredients and use kitchen tools like whisks and can openers, eventually graduating to blenders, mixers, and even the stove!
• Clean as you go. One of the secrets to professional cooking also applies in your home kitchen. Teach kids to wipe the counter after each step and stack dishes in the sink after they are finished with them. Outfit your little chef with his or her own apron to keep clothes spot-free.

It may not be the easiest batch of brownies you’ll ever make, but the perks your child will receive are numerous. For instance:

1. Better eating habits. Kids who help make their own meals are more likely to try—and even eat—the food they’ve made, a major bonus for parents of picky eaters. It’s also a great way to introduce nutrient-rich fruits and veggies into their diet.
2. Math, reading, and chemistry know-how. Preparing food helps bring academic lessons to life. Cooking requires reading, counting, measuring and fractions, weighing, sequencing, and problem solving. Older children can tackle chemistry while caramelizing onions or whisking oil and vinegar together for vinaigrette.
3. Knowledge of different cultures. Cultures have rich culinary traditions. Piggyback a lesson on the Great Wall of China by making dumplings or teach your child about Cinco de Mayo while making homemade quesadillas..
4. Deeper understanding of food. A necessary part of cooking is shopping for ingredients. At the supermarket, show kids how to pick out ripe produce and introduce older kids to prices and discounts. Whenever possible, visit your local farmers market to teach your child about local and seasonal produce, and talk about how food is grown.
5. Confidence and creativity. We all love that feeling of making a dish our families devour. Kids are no different. Their self-worth will soar when they present the cupcakes they personally frosted or the casserole they helped assemble. Be sure to oooh and ahhh with gusto!
6. Memories. Cooking together is an amazing time to communicate and bond with your children. The easy-going chats—as well as the meals—help forge family memories your child will remember for a lifetime. What’s more, families that cook together tend to sit down and eat together. Kids who have dinner with their parents do better in school and are less likely to be anxious or depressed.
7. Life skills. It’s hard to believe it now, but someday your children are going to leave the nest. Teaching them to cook is the best way to ensure they won’t have to eat ramen noodles and take-out every night.

Dino Construction Company™ –T-Top the Triceratops Bulldozer Giveaway

To enter our giveaway, click either one of the entry buttons below. We’ll add you to our random drawing and include you in our mailing list!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

T-Top is part bulldozer, part Triceratops, and totally kid-powered. This bright red mega-morph can push dirt, steer through sand, bulldoze branches, or push blocks out of the way, stopping for nothing in its path. With a sturdy, smashing tail and movable jaw, T-Top gives kids a roaring chance to build or demolish imaginary worlds of their own. Grades Pre-K+

If you’d like to order any of our preschool toys, check them out in our online store. Shipping is always free on orders of $50 or more.

http://www.educationalinsights.com/category/parents/subject/early+learners+–38-+preschool/imaginative+play.do?nType=2

Giveaway ends Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Dino Construction Company™–Wrecker the T-Rex Skid Loader Giveaway

To enter our giveaway, click either one of the entry buttons below. We’ll add you to our random drawing and include you in our mailing list!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wrecker’s hardware-inspired arms loom down over imaginary cities or outdoor puddles as kids push this dino across anything in its path. Get ready for hours of imaginary play when Wrecker hits the construction site!

  • Totally kid-powered, with no batteries required
  • No metal parts
  • Large, movable jaw and gleaming white teeth
  • Segmented, swinging tail moves in many directions
  • Built kid-tough and designed to last for years

Grades Pre-K+

If you’d like to order any of our preschool toys, check them out in our online store. Shipping is always free on orders of $50 or more.

http://www.educationalinsights.com/category/parents/subject/early+learners+–38-+preschool/imaginative+play.do?nType=2

Giveaway ends Friday night at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Dino Construction Company™–Boom the Brachiosaurus Backhoe Giveaway

To enter our giveaway, click either one of the entry buttons below. We’ll add you to our random drawing and include you in our mailing list!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Boom’s dino-tread rollers leave a trail of dinosaur footprints in dirt or sand, and the 360-degree rotating cab allows imaginary drivers to spin Boom around on a dime to scoop up parts or pieces from any angle! Real working steering wheel allows kids to put themselves in the driver’s seat as Boom teams up with the Dino Construction Company™ to complete a job of any scale. Grades Pre-K+

If you’d like to order any of our preschool toys, check them out in our online store. Shipping is always free on orders of $50 or more.

http://www.educationalinsights.com/category/parents/subject/early+learners+–38-+preschool/imaginative+play.do?nType=2

Giveaway ends Monday night at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Good Reads: How to Turn Your Kids into Bookworms

It sounds so simple. Kids who read regularly become better readers and enjoy reading more. Additionally, the learning potential of those ravenous readers skyrockets. Reading helps them develop self-confidence, maturity, creativity, and imagination.

Mom and daughter reading

So plop a copy of Goodnight Moon into your child’s lap and get ready to see your little one blossom into a genius. Simple, right?

In reality, getting children to read is a bit trickier. But regular reading is not just beneficial … it’s rewarding. Use the following tips to help set a new reading habit that’ll help your little ones become hungry bookworms.

1. Set aside time to read—every day.

Creating a routine helps reading become habitual and it shows your child that reading is an important family activity. Find a comfy, cozy spot, turn off the phone, and get comfortable. Make reading a special, intimate time between you and your child. As little as 10 minutes can help improve your child’s reading skills.

2. Choose reading materials that will captivate you and your child.

Remember, this is time you and your child are spending together, so pick out books and magazines that inspire the both of you. Reading opens the door to new worlds, so select an array of reading materials from nature magazines and fairy tales to poetry and how-to books. At Educational Insights, we have created interactive reading books that will both encourage and entertain.

3. Make reading come alive.

If your child enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, consider taking him or her to see dinosaur fossils at the natural history museum. Or, if a character liked to bake, try making a cake together in your own kitchen.

4. Act it out.

When reading to your child, speak softly or loudly, quickly or slowly depending on who’s speaking and what action is taking place. Give characters different voices, and be expressive. Giggles are a great part of reading together!

5. Go beyond the book.

Reading can happen even outside the pages of a book. Take advantage of reading opportunities in your daily life by encouraging your child to read menus, road signs, food labels, and billboards.