My Daycare parents are often amazed at the amount of time I spend cooking with 2 and 3-year-olds. While it's often messy, there are tons of lessons to be learned over a mixing bowl. I often talk about how we practice measuring, fine motor skills, and counting while we're baking, but today I was struck by how much they're learning about sharing from our kitchen adventures! Sharing, I've found, is much harder to teach than numbers or letters. One of my adorable toddler's first phrases was "No, mine!" And, is it any wonder? With two big brothers, he has to learn to stick up for himself :)
So, how do we use baking to teach sharing? Well, baking is a family affair in our house. As soon as the kids hear the mixing bowls come down or the baking pans come out they come running. They rush over to have their hands washed at the sink. There's our first lesson in sharing and taking turns. They have to line up to wash their hands and wait their turn...
Then, they push over the bench from the table and everyone climbs up. As we put in the ingredients, we go down the line and everyone gets to put something in. It's hard to wait your turn and it's even harder if you don't get to put the ingredient in that you wanted to. Sometimes we have to put sugar in 1/4 cup at a time to make sure that everyone has something, but we do it.
Next, everyone gets to hold the mixer for the count of 10. This is a big deal. They have to practice patience waiting for their turn and then they have to be willing to give up the prized mixer when their turn is over. We make it easier with lots of encouragement and clapping after each turn.
It can be difficult when you first start, but I love doing activities like this in the kitchen. It's really rewarding for the kids to work on a project like this together as a team, and when they're done we have a yummy reward! Besides, everyone can use a few more cookies in their lives! :)
This week, we made these yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Momma's Meals. They were a huge hit. We used brown sugar instead of white and substituted 1/2 whole wheat for the white flour used. Instead of the usual "my turn, my turn", I'm now hearing "It's Isaac's turn, and then it will be my turn..." and "now it's Ethan's turn...". I love hearing their sweet voices offering to let others go first. And, I know we're doing more than just expanding vocabulary and practicing numbers (all great things!). We're making memories and learning important life lessons about how to treat each other - one cookie at a time!