Even Very Young Children Like to Cook
Cooking is an awesome activity to do with your children for a multitude of reasons. First of all, it’s fun! Children love to cook, and we all love to eat what they’ve made. Cooking is also a great way to develop small motor skills (chopping, using utensils, etc.,) sequencing (following the steps in order,) math (measuring,) reading skills, and more. Even very young children can contribute meaningfully when it comes to preparing food for their family or friends.
Cooking also builds confidence and independence because it is a practical life skill. According to Maria Montessori, practical life exercises are essential learning avenues for all children.
[Children] take part in the exercises of practical life . This has a truly educational, not utilitarian purpose. The reaction of the children may be described as a “burst of independence” of all unnecessary assistance that suppresses their activity and prevents them from demonstrating their own capacities. It is just these “independent” children of ours who learn to write at the age of four and a half years, who learn to read spontaneously, and who amaze everyone by their progress in arithmetic. (Dr. Maria Montessori, Childhood to Adolescence)
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, my children and I agreed on this easy but delicious recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Sweethearts.
What you’ll need:
- 1 Lb of fresh strawberries
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 1/3 cups of Bisquick® mix
- 2/3 cup of milk
- 3 tablespoons of melted butter
- Whipped cream
- Heart shaped cookie cutters
Preheat the oven to 400̊ F. We started with a pound of fresh strawberries. Using a butter knife (or other non-sharp knife) and a cutting board, the children removed the stems and sliced the berries in half.
Place the sliced berries into large bowl and sprinkle generously with sugar. Use about a ¼ cup of sugar. Mix them gently, just enough to coat all the berries. Set aside.
In another large bowl, mix together 2 1/3 cups of Bisquick®, 2/3 cup milk, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of melted butter until you have a soft dough. Place the dough onto a generously floured surface and press flat with your hands. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to press dough to about ½ inch in thickness. Now use your cookie cutters to make the heart shapes.
We made half of our hearts solid (for the bottom layer) and the other half with a heart shaped cutout in the center (for the top layer.) We also sprinkled the top pieces with red sugar. We got five top and five bottom pieces out of our dough.
Bake at 400̊ F for about 10 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. When they have cooled completely, layer with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Enjoy!