Learning through food. Baking and cooking can be so much fun. Exploring colours, shapes, tastes, smells and textures. It’s a topic we all love to talk about…Food!
The variety of food choices and food options we have today is enormous compared to when we were children. Take something as simple as salted caramel for example, that was never a ‘thing’ until only a few years ago but is something that we are naturally used to seeing in the shops! Food allows for greater creativity, better health, even more memories, and enhanced learning potential.
At Lauriston Nursery, we work extremely closely with our in-house chef on a weekly basis to make sure that children get as much exposure to as many different foods as possible, and so it stays fresh, fun and exciting for them. If a child has intolerances or allergies to certain foods this is never a problem or hassle for us. We make sure that every child is able to enjoy their food so it can fuel them for the rest of their exciting day ahead.
We believe that food isn’t just ‘food’ but an opportunity to truly enrich your child’s life internally and externally, here are some examples and benefits:
- It’s important to educate children properly on food and exploration at a young age so that they understand the key fundamentals of what makes a good, healthy diet.
- Developing fun and positive relationship with food at a young age is important not just for physical health (strong bones, growing etc.), but also for their mental health (cognitive function, memory, general well-being).
- We believe that everything should be enjoyed in moderation, from ‘clean/nutrient-dense food’ to what can be labelled as ‘naughty/treat’ food. Instead of teaching children to become super focused on just eating ‘clean’ food alone, they can learn to enjoy all food mindfully without restriction.
- As our children are now being brought up in a world where everything is fast pace, this can affect their ability to enjoy food thoroughly which can have implications in later life. However, learning through food can improve this positive relationship to food and mindfulness as it encourages the child to slow down their eating and explore the textures, colours, shapes, to appreciate the food they are eating more instead of just eating the food quickly. This not only improves things such as their digestion and absorption but also allows them to learn more about the food itself and what makes food similar or different.
What can I do as a parent to help my child learn more through food?
Remove technology and/or distractions away from the area where food is being eaten or made, this will help them to focus and concentrate more easily.
Ask them questions about their food, get them to talk to you about the colours, shapes, tastes, smells and textures, this will improve their communication skills and vocabulary.
Get them involved at home in making meals, it is easy to forget how meals are formed and what processes it takes to get to the table and be enjoyed. Things are as simple as setting the table, arranging food, stirring the food together, seasoning foods can be a learning opportunity for a child.
Get creative! This can be done sometimes easier with dessert or sweet treats such as biscuits, fruit, cakes. Get your child to make interesting shapes decorate their favourite biscuit. These are opportunities to teach them to be creative, bonding time and to create some great memories together.
Whether you and/or your child have different lifestyles choices in regard to food; these are just some examples of what you could do to help your child learn through food, and also the benefits of doing so. Enjoy food together, teach them the basics and how to appreciate food. Because all food is there to be enjoyed in moderation.