Math in the Kitchen

Your kitchen is rich with fun and yummy ways for your child to learn the basics of numbers, counting, and measuring. Including your child in the kitchen when safe to do so, helps them work with math in everyday situations. Math is used in cooking when changing the quantities of ingredients when doubling, tripling, or halving in a recipe, working out cooking times based on weight, and measuring ingredients.

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Ways to Include your Child in Kitchen Routines:

  • Teach your child how to read a recipe and ask them to find all the measuring tools they will need to use. As they get more comfortable talk about how to “double” or “halve” a recipe.

  • Encourage your child to measure the ingredients and add them to a bowl.

  • Encourage your child to count out how many plates and cups they need to set the table.

  • Help your child set the timer and show them how it counts down.

  • Practice using and reading a thermometer.

  • Share a snack together. Ask your child to divide it into half, thirds, or fourths.

  • Ask your child to grab the right number of eggs out of the carton.

  • Ask your child to mix the batter 15 times and count with them as they do it.

  • Set the oven to the right temperature together. Talk about what “degrees” mean.

  • Brainstorm together, to figure out how many pieces of bread will be needed to make three sandwiches for lunch.

  • Encourage your child to estimate how many pancakes or muffins a batter will make.

  • Practice organizing and sorting when putting away groceries. Ask your child to help you unload bags, separating cold items from items that don't need refrigeration, items that are stored in a kitchen from items that are not.

  • Ask your child to separate utensils by type when unloading the dishwasher or dish rack.

  • Shape cookie dough into numbers to create an edible number line. Ask your child to top each number cookie with the corresponding number of goodies, for example, four raisins on top of the number four.

Starting Math Conversations in the Kitchen:

  • Help me double the pancake recipe. The original calls for two eggs. How many eggs would I need to make twice as many pancakes?

  • How many pancakes do we need to make if everyone in our family eats three pancakes each?

  • How can I cut this pizza into eight equal pieces?

  • We have six carrots and three people. How many carrots do we each get?

  • How many pieces of cereal do you think fit on your spoon at once? Let’s find out!

  • How many crackers fill one cup? Let's find out!

  • Do you have more raisins or apple slices in your cup? How many more?

  • Guess how many broccoli pieces are on your plate. Let’s count and see if you are right!

  • Which size container would best fit these leftovers?

  • Can you find the lids that match these containers (or pots)?

  • Can you put these stacking bowls (or measuring cups) back together so they fit inside of each other?

  • What shapes do you see in the kitchen? What shapes do you see at the table? What shapes do you see on your plate?

  • Estimate how many items you think are in this grocery bag. Count and find out how close you were.

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