5 Reasons to Cook and Bake with Your Kids

If you’re looking for ways to get your kids more involved then you need to look no further than the kitchen.

kids bakingSpending time together in the kitchen gives you a chance to not only prepare tasty meals and treats but also to teach them important lessons. Plus what kid doesn’t love to get their hands dirty?

Hesitant on including your kids in your cooking or baking? Here are five reasons why you should:

1.      Teaches the ins and outs of nutrition – Having your kids help you cook or bake is a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of nutrition and consuming a balanced diet full of plenty of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. The obesity epidemic hinges largely on eating a lot of fast food and restaurant fare, and if you want to combat that in your own family then the first step is getting kids interested in cooking and having them understand the importance of healthy eating and good nutrition.

2.      It’s a math lesson in disguise  – Learning how to measure out ingredients and figure out serving sizes may seem like it’s just another component of cooking, but it’s actually teaching your kids valuable math lessons by rolling together fractions, addition, subtraction, etc. If you’re doubling up on a meal or scaling back on it you can get kids to figure out how much more or less of certain items they need to still get the correct measurements.

3.      Cooking and baking are mini science experiments – Why does spinach wilt in the microwave? How come banana bread rises in the oven? What happens when you combine certain ingredients together? Why do eggs become hardboiled eggs when they’re boiled? Every time you bake or cook something you’re essentially performing a small-scale science experiment in the form of food. Explain what’s happening during the cooking process and why certain things happen to sneak in a little science lesson during each cooking or baking experience.

4.      Encourages trying new foods– Kids are notoriously picky eaters; however including them in the cooking process can make them more open to trying new foods. The satisfaction they get from preparing a meal can be just what they need to propel them to actually eat the meal. Plus it gives you a chance to experiment together with different combinations until you find one that everyone can agree is delicious.

5.      It’s automatic quality time–Instead of hanging out watching TV or being holed up in their rooms playing video games you’ll have a rare moment where it’s just you and your kids working together and having fun. Neither you nor your kids will be focused on anything other than spending time with each other and making a great meal, and that is reason enough right there.

Cooking or baking with your kids gives you the unique opportunity to spend time together, save money, experiment in the kitchen, and expose them to new, healthy foods and recipes. They’ll take away more from those nights spent in the kitchen then they ever will playing on the computer or eating on the go.

About the AuthorThis guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger, editor & a knowledge gainer of  being full time nanny.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.




PAWS For Reading

pawsDogs are amazing creatures who can make a difference in our lives in so many ways!

Recently I came across an article about dogs helping children to read. I am sharing the article in its entirety as it appeared on http://www.supportdogs.org/Programs/PAWS-For-Reading.

The PAWS for Reading Program places dogs in a classroom or library setting in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. The dogs act as an incentive for the children to read. A dog is viewed as a non-threatening entity to promote reading, writing, and increased interaction and social skills in children.

The dogs that participate in the program have been trained through the TOUCH Program (Therapy of Unique Canine Helpers) and selected by the Support Dogs staff based on the qualities that make them suitable for the program. These dogs are especially calm and unobtrusive and settle in as part of the class. The children view the dogs as lovable and non-judgmental, which are the keys to success in this program. Children have said that the dogs give them confidence because the dog does not make fun of them if they read slowly or mess up pronouncing a word. The dogs are great listeners and give the child a sense of comfort while reading. Children have been known to practice with their personal pets at home in preparation for the Paws for Reading dogs.

Support Dogs, Inc. has developed an incentive program for the classroom in which children that read a specific number of books receive a special book of their choosing and a certificate signed by the canine classmate. If the child reads a high number of books, a special book is donated to the school library in the student’s honor. The incentive program can stand alone or be used in conjunction with a current incentive program already being offered by the school.

The PAWS for Reading Program serves children in first to tenth grades in St. Louis area schools and/or who attend the St. Louis Public Library program. Results have shown an increase in reading levels and word recognition, a higher desire to read and write, and an increase in intra and interpersonal skills among the children.


1,000s of Free Crafts, Lesson Plans and Educational Materials

Picture of the free can do street mall

If you are looking for free craft projects, lesson plans and educational materials for children 3-7 years, spend some time in the “Can Do” Street Mall checking out the Crafts/Games and Teaching Resources.

Take advantage of the free materials that are there for your use. The materials are the work of parents, grandparents, educators, recreation and crafts personnel.

Each week we add more resources, shared by individuals, organizations and companies with the hope that you will visit their sites and make use of the 1,000s of free materials that they offer.

There is no catch, no hidden costs to using the free materials you find on the sites that list in the mall.

Prior to listing each of the free sites in the mall, the staff of “Can Do” Street check out the content to make sure it is suitable for out audience of parents, teachers and other adults involved in the care of young children .

To list your site in either Crafts and Games or Teaching Resources the content must meet the following criteria:

  • Contain free resources suitable, in all or in part, for children 3-7 years
  • Resources must be easy to download and use

If you wish to list, please send the following information about your free site to jeanc@candostreet.com:

  • A brief description of your site
  • A logo, if you have one
  • Your URL address so that we may create an active link to your site

We look forward to having you visit the “Can Do” Mall where the resources are free and fun!


The “Can Do” Street Mall is Now Open!

And all the resources are free for your use! Just go to www.candostreet.com click on the awning that says, “Can  Do” Mall and start exploring the resource centers.

We invite you, not only to use the resources in the mall, but be a part of the “Can Do” Mall by contributing a resource that you have to share.You will be credited for the resource and an active link will bring visitors from the mall to your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook or other social media page.

The three resource centers that are  first to open are: Crafts and Games, Teaching Resources and Recipes.

Coming in two weeks…Writing with Wendy offering activities for young children that promote an interest in writing.

Soon after the Digital Arts Studio will  provide the opportunity for online painting of scenes and characters as well as the ability to download images for use on clothing, in quilting and other mediums.

Also planned for a  future opening…Showcases where gamers, artists, teachers, writers, and companies that create products for children can showcase a new creation that visitors to the mall can tryout at no cost.

Be sure to checkout the “What”s New” Flag above the “Can Do” Street Mall whenever you visit, to see the newest additions to “Can Do” Street.

To send a resource for publication:

  • Review the guidelines for submission on the Welcome page in the resource center  where you want to contribute
  • Email your submission along with your name and the URL address that will be activated as a link to your site to jeanc@candostreet.com

Teacher’s Pet

There’s a new  resource site for teachers by teachers, that is so worth the visit!  I think parents will be interest in this site as well.  Teacher’s Pet, a United Kingdom based site, launched in April of this year. It offers classroom  materials, teaching ideas, stickers, themes,  etc.

The web site is the combined work of Christina, a qualified teacher and Jason, a web developer. Christina is in charge of the content for the site and Jason the site itself.

Christina describes her aim in developing Teacher’s Pet as, “Creating a free and useful teaching tools that are unique and creative but also relevant for today’s schools.” Jason, who describes himself as a Flash Junkie, is in the process of developing Flash games and activities for the site’s interactive whiteboard.

In just six months since the launch of Teacher’s Pet, visitors to the site made 113,387 downloads. You can view the site by going to www.tpet.co.uk


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