Jan 27

Learning Language Through Cooking

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

One weekend, or during a Snow Day (like today!), how about cooking a dish with your child? Depending on your child's interests, you can borrow or purchase a book specifically geared towards "cooking with children" or you can find a recipe to try and give it a go!

Book: Cocina Sana para Niños Book: Emeril's There's a Chef in My Family!

In our house, on "my" side of the cookbook area, I have "Emeril's There's a Chef in My Family!: Recipes to Get Everybody Cooking" cookbook. Hmmm. I also have a cookbook in Spanish called "Cocina Sana para Niños" of Parragon Books. Both are standard recipes, one in English, one in Spanish. Perhaps you would like to look into "ethnic" cookbooks, for further inspiration.

At Jump Immersion, cooking is another way to practice and round out your child's Spanish or Mandarin. Even if you do not speak the "Target Language" (or "TL") this can be your child's opportunity to school you. It is clear that, more than toys or gadgets, our children want to spend time with us, their parents. Put two or more people together in the kitchen, cast worries or judgments aside, and focus on cooking and on the process or the results--something delicious to delight in.

Cooking with Kids

Do not fret. A one-hour activity such as cooking, in Spanish or Mandarin, is a marvelous way to expand your child's vocabulary (not to mention math skills with fractions or science skills following steps & observing). You will be adding words such as "mix," "add," "combine," "smell," "taste," "savor," etc. This low-key activity is taking place at the kitchen table, the heart of the home. With older children, this can be a neutral ground to listen to them and perhaps even get them talking about their day, their interests, their worries. To this day, I have fond memories of watching my grandmother cook, and later on, helping her with her signature recipes. This added vocabulary helped broaden my Spanish quite a bit.

Once you have made your recipe, ask others how they make it. Or better yet, ask your child to ask a friend/acquaintance that speaks the "TL" how they make it and discuss any differences. Easy conversation starters also include where the person finds their ingredients or special spice mixtures.

Enjoy!, ¡Buen Provecho! and Xiang Shou!