Did you know that the kitchen is the perfect place to do STEM activities with your children? You can make learning fun by exploring everyday items found in your kitchen. These fun activities will help you and your children discover science, technology, engineering, and math in your very own kitchen!
Many science concepts can be demonstrated using simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. For example, pull out ingredients for a cake you want to make. Ask your child questions, such as Where do these ingredients come from? Many kids will know milk comes from cows, but where does flour come from? Have your child touch the ingredients and describe the texture: hard, soft, bumpy, squishy, etc. Then teach your child about the changes in states of matter. Explain that when ingredients are put together, they make a mixture. The cake batter starts off as a liquid but turns into a solid after it is heated in the oven. Kids can also explore sound and pitch by hitting different sized pans or containers. Put various items, such as rice, pasta, or marshmallows, inside the containers to hear different sounds.
Many people think technology is all about computers and the latest app. But technology also includes any manufactured tools, such as scissors, whisks, microwaves, pots, and spatulas. Pick up some tools in your kitchen and have your child guess what they are used for. Coding is an important concept in computer science. Coding uses step-by-step instructions to tell a computer what to do. Have your child practice his or her coding skills by giving you (the computer) instructions on how to do something. For example, have your child teach you how to clean a dish. The first step would be to grab the soap. Next, squeeze the soap on a sponge and wet it with water. Then pick up the dish and scrub the dish with the sponge, etc. It is important that you do everything in the order that your child tells you. This demonstrates in a meaningful way that instructions need to be detailed and in the right order. This also helps children recognize where their code went wrong and how to fix it.
Kids love to play with their food, so let’s do more of what they enjoy! Give your child pretzels and marshmallows and have your child connect them to build different shapes. You can also use those same food items, along with toothpicks and gumdrops, to build a house for a small toy. Another fun activity to do with your child is stacking paper cups to build a large tower. This teaches children about construction, stability, and balance.
The kitchen seems like it was made for math! Children can build their math skills by sorting fruits and vegetable by color or shape. You can even open a bag of trail mix and have your child sort the ingredients. Other simple math activities in the kitchen include measuring ingredients for a recipe or counting the amount of plates and cups that need to be set on the table. The kitchen isn’t just a place for cooking. It’s the best room in the house to learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math.