Last year my children and I embarked on a culinary adventure around the world, with the vastly ambitious goal to cook food from every country on the planet (that’s almost 200 countries, just incase you were wondering!)
The exercise (still far from complete!) has proved very successful in terms of capturing their imagination, and indeed opening learning across a divers range of fields.
It comes as no surprise that cooking is a wonderful educational tool in itself: It is tactile (pouring, stirring, needing), sensory (taste, smell, sight), draws heavily on numeracy skills (weighing, counting, timing), scientific reactions (dissolving, heating, cooling), and literacy (from recognising the simple word ‘cup’ when measuring, right through to being able to read recipes independently) … Plus you get the satisfaction of creating something that you can eat at the end. This is probably the benefit my own 3 and 5 year olds enjoy most!
When we embarked on our culinary adventure around the world, we didn’t buy a plane ticket – instead we looked at what was in our own cupboard. From making Vietnamese rice paper rolls in the park, to investigating the origins of the pancake. Each county we ‘visited’ on our cooking journey we added a little geography, and a lot of discussion, and play surrounding that county. As a result both of my children have an expanded world view.