Many children enjoy cooking with an adult. Your child might enjoy stirring the muffin batter or drying dishes after dinner. There is an array of measuring tools in your kitchen cupboards you can use to teach your child about measurements while you are spending time together. Giving your child the opportunity to learn to use measuring cups and spoons will help her become more independent in the kitchen as she gets older. The next time your child comes into the kitchen to help you cook, take a few minutes to teach her about measurements.
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Explain the difference between solid and liquid measuring containers. Show him a set of nesting or single measuring cups and explain that he should use the cups for powdered and solid ingredients. Set out flour, white and brown sugar, cornstarch and peanut butter as examples. Hand him a set of nesting measuring spoons and tell him he can measure small amounts of liquids or solids with the spoons.
Tell him to use the glass or plastic cups with incremental measurements embossed or printed on the side to measure liquids like water, milk and oil. Demonstrate how difficult it is to fill up a 1 cup stackable measuring cup with an entire cup of water from the faucet and carry it to a mixing bowl without spilling one drop.
Show her a recipe that uses both dry and liquid ingredients. Find a healthy recipe such low-fat blueberry muffins. Ask her to read the recipe. When she comes to a measurement such as 1/2 cup brown sugar, tell her how to say the measurement correctly. Repeat with 1/4, 3/4 and the thirds. Quiz her to be sure she understands what types of ingredients require dry measuring cups and which require liquid cups.
Make the recipe together. Set out all the ingredients, measuring tools, mixing bowl and baking pans. Following the directions, measure each ingredient and place it in the mixing bowl. Show him how to spoon the dry ingredients into the stackable measuring cups of the proper size and level it off using a flat utensil like a butter knife or spatula. Use the measuring spoons for small amounts of dry ingredients and explain the importance of precisely measuring ingredients by making certain the exact amount goes into the recipe.
Measure the liquid ingredients for your recipe by asking your child to pour the liquid into the liquid measuring cup. Lean over and show her how to look at the liquid from the side to ensure that the liquid is all the way to the required line and not over or under it. Show her how to read the ½, 1/3 and ¾ cup measurements on the side of the cup. Teach her to be careful when pouring the liquid ingredient into the measuring bowl without spilling it.