Learning in the Kitchen: A Review of Cooking Around The Calendar with Kids by Amy Houts

Learning in the Kitchen: A Review of Cooking Around The Calendar with Kids by Amy Houts

 If you are homeschooling, this book is a fantastic resource which will provide a wealth of learning ideas. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, cooking with your kids is a wonderful way of spending quality learning time together, and making that learning process as natural well, cooking and eating should be. You and your child will have a ball, and neither of you will know how much you are learning.

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

Cooking Around the Calendar with kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun
by Amy Houts
Snaptail Press
ISBN 0939643-12-7
Sept 2001, 128 pgs
$12.95 US (softcover), $24.95 US (hardcover)

Cooking is an educational activity, and not only for children. Through cooking we learn skills such as maths, safety, a sense of flavour, presentation, cultures, food types, economics, nutrition, and of course cooking itself, a skill in its own right. Cooking with your children teaches them all these things, plus ensure that they understand where food comes from, and how it is produced. You may even find that your children are more willing to eat what they cook themselves, plus it is a fun activity which (usually) results in something useful and edible. Amy Hout is a former children’s librarian and preschool teacher, who has written five children’s books, and the cookbook Learning Through Cooking Activities. She has also authored the well respected “Preschooler in the Kitchen” series for a montly Parenting Newsletter, and her knowledge of the way in which preschoolers learn, and the way in which the kitchen can facilitate that learning process is extensive. As a former attendee of the Culinary Institute of America, Houts understands food, and the recipes in this book are as tasty as they are educational.

The book is divided into chapters based on the seasons: Autumn Idea, Winter Ideas, spring Ideas and Summer ideas, along with a chaper on Food Safety, Following Directions, and Cooperation, and a brief chapter on Table Manners. The holidays are very much US based, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, President’s Day, and the Fourth of July, and the seasons are the North American ones, so if your Summer is in December and your Winter is in July, you may have to make some mental adjustments. The book is very much child appropriate though, with a range of educational questions to get your children thinking, and simple, quick recipes to get them cooking. Each recipe contains directions for what adults should do, and what children should do, including details on freezing, and helpful hints. For example, in the Veggie Pizza, “Children can mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and range dressing mix in a small bowl.” For Carrot-Honey Muffins, children can grease the muffin cups, and stir together the mixtures. There are back to school ideas for breakfasts, lunches and snacks, popcorn toppers, gift ideas, and lots of healthy desserts. There are also activities based on food, such as having a valentines day tea party, or adding a multicultural flavour to traditional holidays. There are guidelines for making holiday gifts (a wonderful activity to do with your children), cookie-parties, activities to learn more about pumpkins and apples, teaching children about hope, playing safe (and educational) tricks around April Fool’s Day, having a special Father’s Day Brunch, a Mother’s Day luncheon, Rainbow recipes, and lots more.

If you are homeschooling, this book is a fantastic resource which will provide a wealth of learning ideas. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, cooking with your kids is a wonderful way of spending quality learning time together, and making that learning process as natural well, cooking and eating should be. You and your child will have a ball, and neither of you will know how much you are learning.

For more information, or to purchase a copy, click here–>Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids:…

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