One of our most basic human activities is eating, and children are just as interested in food as adults are. During the winter months when families are stuck inside, our interests frequently turn to food and the joys of sitting around a table together. Parents can use this time to teach math skills, science, culture, and the art of feeding yourself all using the kitchen.
If you want to teach math skills, check out Kitchen Math by Katie Marsico. She presents real world examples of when children will need math and offers opportunities for children to help measure ingredients, calculate cooking times, add and subtract fractions, double and halve recipes, convert cups to ounces and back again, and more. Also try Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds by Ann McCallum. Inside you’ll find math concepts followed by recipes that challenge readers to apply the concept, like “Fraction Chips” made from tortillas, or “Variable Pizza Pi.”
Or maybe you’d prefer some science with your food? We’ve got books for that, too! What’s for Lunch? by Sarah L. Thomson is great for giving younger readers a good basic knowledge of food groups, calorie facts and basic nutrition advice for energy and growth. For older readers who like to play with their food, try Professor Cook’s Smashing Snacks by Lorna Brash to discover what makes popcorn explode, why mozzarella is so super stretchy, or how to make ice cream in a bag. Other fun science and food books include Eat Your Science Homework by Ann McCallum and Science You Can Eat by Stefan Gates.
Food is one of the best ways that people use to pass along their family’s culture or discover other cultures. Exploring food from other lands can lead to lessons in geography or anthropology – and wonderful new flavors! The library offers many children’s cookbooks that feature the culinary traditions of people all over the world. Cooking Class Global Feast! 44 Recipes that Celebrate the World's Cultures by Deanna Cook has recipes from many different cuisines, or browse the international cooking books in our catalog.
Sometimes you just want a good, general cookbook that is kid-friendly. For beginners try Mommy and Me Start Cooking by Denise Smart. This cookbook offers fun activities to delight all five senses, with an introduction to measurements and lessons about staple ingredients. There’s also How to Cook in 10 Easy Lessons: Learn How to Prepare Food and Cook Like a Pro by Wendy Sweetser. Divided into ten skill-based categories such as “Using Knives” and “Peeling and Grating”, this cookbook is designed to teach kids the skills they need to cook successfully, and then gives them the recipes they can use to test their new-found skills. Based on a more traditional cookbook format is the Complete Children’s Cookbook by Jill Colella. This book contains more than 150 recipes, divided into themed chapters like “Breakfast”, “Soups and Salads”, and more.
Finally, if the adults in your family enjoy participating in All Henrico Reads, you may be aware that the book for 2020 is Robin Sloan’s Sourdough, a story about a woman and an adventure sparked by a sourdough starter. This is a wonderful opportunity to get some family conversations going about baking. To fuel the discussion, use cookbooks like Good Housekeeping Kids Bake!: 100+ Sweet and Savory Recipes by the Good Housekeeping Institute, or Cool Breads & Biscuits: Easy and Fun Comfort Food by Alex Kuskowski.
Whatever ways your family uses to feed themselves, they’ll find lots of recipes in the library.