Every week the children explore a variety of foods. This exploration can be in the form of a recipe, or simply examining food in its whole form. This week the children wanted to make a salad with ingredients they picked out such as romaine lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, shredded carrots, and turkey slices.
We provided the children with butter knives and they began naming all the vegetables. They spoke of the different colors each vegetable was, noticing the majority of the ingredients were green. The children observed the size as well, some were round while others were oval shaped and one was even very long! They told us the tomato was wet and mushy when you cut into it.
Before cutting the tomato and guiding them on how to cut it we began discussing fractions through a tomato. First the tomato was cut evenly in half making 2 halves. Then we slowly began cutting it into smaller pieces making 4 pieces all the way to eight pieces. We spent time exploring fractions and how they look in written form. They were provided paper and black markers to draw how a whole tomato was turned into pieces after they cut it. This gave them a better understanding of a fraction. The teacher observed the children being very attentive and wanting to cut each ingredient the right size.
We believe in using food as a language weekly in our classrooms. Our hope for our children is to develop a culture of healthy and proper diet. Cooking new recipes helps children to develop a positive connection to all different types of foods including fruits and vegetables. Forming a positive experience with fresh foods is so important because healthy foods are the foundation for good nutrition. Children will also learn basic cooking skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.
The children benefited from this project in a plethora of ways. They worked on their fine motor skills by cutting into different veggies, eye-hand coordination, following directions on how to make a salad which helps the children to improve their listening skills, working collectively as group and helping one another out, and being able to incorporate math with the vegetables through counting and fractions. Allowing the children to choose the ingredients to create an edible meal provided them the opportunity to develop more confidence in their skills and abilities. As the children followed a recipe they successfully organized the ingredients, followed a process, and executed various directions while applying math and language development by discussing aloud fractions with their food. We look forward to where our next exploration with food takes us!
“…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”