Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bake, Cook and Learn!

By Joanne A. Jesena
Published in Philippine Star, 2001

Summer vacation is fast approaching and soon your kids will be running around your home, restless as ever! Put their energies into good use. Cook and bake with them and at the same time, teach them a thing or two about reading, science and math!

Here are easy to cook and bake recipes for kids as young as one year old! Expect a mess and expect to have lots of fun too!

Before doing any of these recipes, put on an apron and put one on your child too. Make sure you’ve written the recipe on a cartolina beforehand, for your child to “read” with you. Highlight the first letter of the words or write with a red pen while use a blue or black one for the rest of the letters. This will help your child focus on beginning letters. If possible, draw the ingredients so your child will associate the word with the picture and later on, with the real object too.

Start the process by reading the recipe together. Take note of beginning letters. Ask your child what is the starting letter of words such as cup, egg, bowl and other familiar words. Ask your child to name the numbers written in the recipe. Help him with fractions and show the measuring spoon/cup that corresponds to the ones mentioned in the recipe. Help your child unlock words by pointing the picture that tells them what the word is.

It would be nice to warm up or introduce your cooking activity with a book about the food you are about to make.


It would be nice to start of this recipe by reading a book about baking or about cookies. I recommend the Sesame Street book "The Biggest Cookie in the World."

What you’ll need:

    2 cups all purpose flour (APF)
    1/4 tsp. salt
    3/4 cups softened butter
    1 large egg
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1-2 tbsp. of sugar
    food coloring

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 325 (if you don’t have an oven, you can use a toaster oven)

2. In a bowl, let your child mix APF and salt

3. In another bowl, ask your child to cream softened butter and sugar

4. If your child can crack an egg, let him do so. If not, an adult should crack the egg and place its contents into the bowl with the butter and sugar.

5. Let your child add the vanilla in the bowl with egg, butter and sugar and mix well

5. Add all ingredients in a big bowl and blend/mix

* DO NOT overmix!

6. Let your child gather dough in a big ball. Younger kids will enjoy pinching and rolling the dough before actually making the big ball.

7. Help your child wrap the ball in a plastic wrap

8. Chill in freezer for 5-10 minutes (DO NOT freeze! We need dough that is hard enough to cut but NOT frozen.) Ask your child what he thinks will happen when the dough is placed in the freezer.

9. When stiff enough, remove dough from freezer and help your child flatten it with a rolling pin.

10. Give your child cookie or play dough cutters and cut out into desired shape

11. Ask your child to sprinkle cookies with colored sprinkles and or put nuts and choco chips (optional)

12. On a separate bowl, ask your child to mix 1-2 teaspoons of sugar with food coloring

13. Let your child sprinkle colored sugar on cookies.

14. Bake cookies in oven for about 8 minutes or until sides of cookies show some brown color.

If you will use a toaster oven, bake cookies for 5 minutes or until sides of cookies show some brown color. DO NOT wait for cookies to turn entirely brown!

For kids 1-2 years old, they can participate by rolling the dough with their hands, making cookie shapes with plastic cookie cutters and by sprinkling the colored sugar, sprinkles and nuts on top of the cookies.

For kids 2 1/2 and older, they may participate from the beginning until the end of the process. An adult, though, should be the one to place the cookies in the oven. Teach your child the dangers of touching a hot surface and warn him never to touch the oven.


You could read and say out loud the Humpty Dumpty story/rhyme before making this.

What you will need:

    fresh eggs
    iodized salt
    pickles (optional)
    ham (optional)

What to do.

1. START by "reading" the recipe together.

2. Ask your child to touch the egg and ask how it feels (hard, cold)

Break a fresh egg and show your child how it looks inside

3. Ask your child what s/he thinks will happen if another egg is placed in a pan with water and boiled.

4. Ask your child to put eggs (depends on how many you want to use) into a pan.

5. Ask your child to put water inside the pan (use cups if you want to inject a lesson in math
---count the number of cups you need to put in the pan enough water to boil the eggs in)

6. When the egg is cooked, an adult should take the pan and put the eggs on a bowl.

7. When egg is cool, let child touch the egg and ask how it feels like (hard, hot/warm)

8. Let child break the egg and find out how it looks inside. Ask child if it is different from the first egg that was broken. Ask your child why he thinks the inside of the egg changed its appearance.

9. Let child cut the eggs using a plastic knife.

10. Let child cut the ham into small pieces.

10. Put into a bowl

11. Add mayonnaise, iodized salt, pickles (quantity depends on your taste) and mix

12. Refrigerate to cool, if desired. Then enjoy with your favorite piece of bread.

For kids 2 and above, they may participate by cracking the eggs and taking off the shells, as well as cutting and mixing with an adult’s close supervision.

3. Vegetable Soup

A nice book about soup is "Stone Soup." You might want to read this before making your own vegetable soup.

What you will need:

    1 cube of beef or chicken broth
    2 1/2 cups of water
    1 small onion
    1 can of whole kernel corn
    1 carrot
    1/2 cup of chopped cabbage

What to do:

1. Let your child pour 2 1/2 cups of water into a pan.

2. An adult should put the pan on the stove to boil.

3. With the help of an adult an older child may place the cube into the pan.

4. An Adult should chop the onions and place it into the pan.

5. In the meantime, help your child cut out the carrots and cabbage and other vegetables you’d like to include in your vegetable soup.

6. An adult should open the can of whole kernel corn and place the contents into a bowl.

7. Let an older child put the vegetables and corn into the pan. Make sure the stove is in low fire.

Kids aged 2 and older will be able to help in chopping the vegetables. Kids aged 5 and older can help in chopping and putting the vegetables into the pan.

While cooking and baking, it might not be obvious to your child that he was learning reading (looking and knowing beginning letters and sight reading ingredients), math (counting, learning about fractions and recognizing numbers) as well as science (predicting what will happen, taking note of changes and how this happened) but I’m sure it will be quite obvious that he is having lots of fun!

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