Some middle school students go through a weird phase in which they seem like they are eating their parents out of house and home. Growing teenagers seem to have a insatiable appetite, and can be found in the kitchen more often than not.
If this sounds like your middle or high-schooler, take advantage of this biological phenomenon that has then scavenging through the kitchen and use it as an educational opportunity.
Having your child help you measure and figure how much of each ingredient is required to complete a recipe is a great way to fine-tune their math skills, especially when it comes to fractions. Have them help you figure out how much of something you will need to make a single serving, but then how much you would need to double the recipe, or cut the recipe in half. You can also explore how many teaspoons are in cup, and other breakdowns of measurement.
Some teenagers don’t have an appreciation for the work and money required to keep their kitchens stocked with their favorite foods. Have your teen sit down with you when you make the grocery list. Talk about the budget for groceries and have them help you decide how much you can buy with the money available. Take them to the store with you so they can see exactly how much the food costs. Have them use a calculator (or pen and paper) to add up the groceries as you put them in the card and keep a running tab on how much is spent and how much is left. Not only will this keep the “math” part of their brain sharp, it will develop a whole new appreciation for the time and effort it takes to keep enough food in the house for the entire family. Other great ways to incorporate math at the grocery store include figuring out how much can be saved using coupons, comparing brands and prices of products you buy regularly, and measuring produce by the pound.
Math and Time
Time management is a big part of being successful in the kitchen. Consider having your teenager help you with time related tasks such as cooking times, prepping a meal so that is complete at a certain time, microwave cooking times vs. oven cooking times, etc.
While there is no doubt you are working hard to keep your teens bodies healthy and growing, there are countless opportunities around the house to keep their brains growing as well, including their favorite spot in the house, the kitchen!