Renowned American chef Julia Child once said, “I’m very happy… if I can influence anyone to keep in the kitchen and make it a real family room and part of your life.”

Whether you’re preparing a Thanksgiving feast or a simple family dinner, baking a birthday cake or sharing an afternoon snack, the kitchen is the heart of any home. It’s the place to go for stirring, simmering, whipping and whirring, but it can also become an in-house classroom and a great space for learning.

From tiny teaspoons to massive measuring cups, our kitchens are full of tools that can help take abstract mathematical concepts from the chalkboard to the dinner table. When it comes to measurement, estimation, proportions or even simple addition, cooking together is a hands-on way to feed your child’s hunger for knowledge while helping them develop an appreciation for math as both fun and useful.

Even more important, time spent in the kitchen offers you and your budding assistant chef time to connect with each other and create batches of sweet memories.

 

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  1. Parents can use cooking and the kitchen as a classroom for many subjects. In addition to math, there are many science lessons to be learned, as well.

    Alton Brown, star of Food Network’s “Good Eats,” is one of my favorite culinary scientists. You never know what you’re going to learn when Alton steps into the kitchen. Check out this video if you’ve ever wondered why cutting an onion makes you cry:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU-gfFzC6Uw

  2. I once cooked in math class once! I once made pumpkin bread using measurements. It was yummy!!! Another time, I made fruit punch. It was also very yummy!!! The fruit punch included apple juice, orange juice,and cranberry juice. Did you know that three 1/3 cups make a cup and four 1/4 cups make a cup. I learned this in math class. Have a WONDERful day!!!! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing about all the WONDERful treats you made in math class, Julie! How fun! We appreciate you letting us know what you learned about measurements, too! You’re a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  3. I think math can help you cook because some time you need to use fractions such as half a cup of sugar when cooking. For example, when me and my mom cook, she always starts off by taking out her measuring cups. That is one way math can help you cook.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What does math have to do with cooking?
  • What’s the difference between a cup, a tablespoon and a teaspoon?
  • How can you create your own recipe?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to share the joys of cooking and learning with your child. Something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie recipe can provide countless opportunities to bring math to life in the kitchen.

Have your little helper practice measuring out ingredients using different sizes of measuring cups. How many 1/3 scoops does it take to make 1 cup? How many 1/4 scoops? If your recipe makes one dozen cookies but you’d like to invite 24 imaginary guests for dinner, experiment with doubling the recipe together.

Take this edible lesson one step further and ask your child to create their own recipe by building their own ice cream sundae. Gather up a variety of toppings such as nuts, candies, chocolate chips, syrups, sprinkles and dried and fresh fruits. Place a scoop of ice cream in a bowl, then let the creativity roll!

Using measuring spoons and cups of various sizes, encourage your child to design their own delectable masterpiece. Have them keep track of the measurement amounts for each topping they add to their sundae.

When they are finished, ask them to build another sundae following their recipe — for you! All that’s left to do is grab two spoons… and dig in!

Who knew math could be so yummy?

Bonus Wonder

In 2001, Julia Child donated her kitchen to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where it was reassembled for visitors to experience. The Smithsonian now makes it possible for you and your child to tour Julia’s kitchen online from the comfort of yours.

No need to travel across the country to get inspired by one of America’s most beloved chefs — just click in. Bon appétit!

 

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