Counting and Cooking with Doni Chamberlain

Doni Chamberlain's children dusted with flour

Doni’s Kids Lend A Hand With The Cooking

Doni Chamberlain is well-known as an award-winning journalist and a somewhat rabid remodeler. This former Redding Record Searchlight columnist boldly launched her own successful online publication, A News Café, in 2007. She’s clearly passionate about journalism and contributing to her community. But something everyone may not know about Doni is that she’s also passionate about cooking, including cooking with kids. Amidst running a business and moving from her locally famous previously pink house to her “new” old house, Doni graciously squeezed in time for an e-chat (aint technology grand?). Here’s some tasty nuggets about cooking and numeracy and building life skills in kids.

NONI DONI COUNTS THE WAYS
Doni encourages involving young children in the kitchen just as soon as they can sit in a highchair and have crazy fun stirring batter or tearing lettuce for a salad. At home, she’s better known as Noni and enjoys cooking with her grandchildren, just as she did with their parents when they were children.

So, why is cooking with children such a rich experience? How does it help them enter the world of academia as prepared, numerate kindergarteners? Let Doni count the ways that cooking builds skills!

“There are so many reasons for parents (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) to involve their kids in kitchen activities,” says Doni. “First, it’s quality, creative non-screen time between adults and children. There’s nothing like the excitement a child feels being allowed to help with this ‘grown up’ activity.

Second, it allows the adults to be positive role models demonstrating how to make healthy food, and how to make simple, delicious foods, often from just a few ingredients.

numeracy 1 + 2 math problemThird, children feel a sense of pride when they help prepare food for the family. When they help with the cooking, children are exposed to foods and ingredients that may at first seem foreign, and may help head off the ‘picky eater” syndrome.'”

Doni is also a fan of the skills children are building by participating in the kitchen. She says, ““If there’s a recipe involved, there will be counting. How many cups of flour? One, two, three! How many teaspoons of vanilla? Two! Cooking helps with math, but also with reading. As your children grow older, you can ask them to read you the directions as you go along.”

WHERE TO START
Doni recalls, “All my kids and grandchildren were often on my hip as babies as I stirred something….

Be sure to Subscribe and look forward to Part 2 (with a recipe from Doni!) later this week.

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About Deborah Peel

Writer, blogger, marketer, mother, lover of big trees and isolated mountain tops. I'm passionate about the pathway to success that First 5 Shasta is building for young children. Our grantees, partners, and caring community members all contribute to this critical early childhood investment. Together, we make the pathway strong!
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