Kindergarten Readiness: Christmas in a Bowl

Recently on FB, several friends posted about the highlight of their day: cooking Christmas favorites with kids. Did you know this is an awesome–and tasty–way to combine fun, learning, and family time? One family was making tamales and another rolling out pyrogies. A friend’s family was making homemade chocolates and at another house Grandma and kidlets were baking “meese”, Christmas mouse cookies. It was so inspiring that we had kumle (potato dumplings) for supper.

making holiday chocolates with kidsIn every post and photo, there were kids of all ages and adults, honoring their family traditions with holiday favorites. While it might be easier to do some of this without the ‘help’ of kids, it’s worth the extra effort to include them. Kids need to feel that can contribute and be part of the family. All too soon, their world will expand to include school. They will have a much better beginning at school, if they come with confidence and the experience of being an important member of a group. This foundation will make a difference from preschool, to kindergarten readiness all the way to college, career, and the next generation of family. Did you learn to make family favorites as an adult, or was it back when you were a child? The proof really is in the pudding, or the tamales, pyrogies, cookies, or chocolates.

Besides the social and belonging aspect, there’s basic science, counting and measuring for math, following directions, doing steps in order, communicating with others, using specific vocabulary, listening, practicing patience when waiting to lick the spoon or beaters. There’s likely learning about the need for a sense of humor to handle spills and accidents and other calamities in the kitchen. Here’s some kitchen humor: good moms let kids lick the beaters while great moms turn off the mixer first.

The special memories may not be getting made in a bowl. It might be a pan, or counter top or table. Whatever or wherever, these memories will weave the years together for all of us. What are your family’s holiday dishes?

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