Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in the How To Homeschool For Free series too!
This is a perfect time of year to focus on Home Economics. What exactly is “Home Ec?” It covers a wide variety of topics, but the main point of it is to teach the economics and management of the home.
This week we’ll talk about how your children (and YOU) can learn Cooking Skills online for FREE!
Food Safety & Nutrition
I highly recommend starting with a food safety course. I cannot stress enough that kids should learn this early in their cooking adventures. If they are planning on helping at church or community buffets or group meals, this 40-page booklet with pictures and list for cooking & planning for large groups is also recommended!
An organization called Communities and Schools for Health has fairly comprehensive lesson plans for grades K-12 on food safety. Most all of the links on their page are external links to other websites that will have the information for that lesson’s study topic.
Nutrition Explorations for kids has several nutrition-oriented games for children in the lower and upper elementary grade levels. For the younger kids they have several categorizing games (putting fruits in the fruit basket, vegetables in the vegetable basket, etc.), and for the older ones they have several classifying games, as well as games for identifying the health benefits of different foods.
Baylor College of Medicine has an entire section on their website dedicated to helping kids & parents understand the role healthy living plays from fetal development throughout an entire life. It has an interactive game section with a food pyramid game and a food challenge game.
Online Cooking Lessons
Activity TV is chock full of things for kids to do & learn and there is a whole section for cooking! When my children first started cooking for themselves, they started with easy things, like sandwiches and tortilla wraps, and Activity TV has several ideas for where to start teaching your kids how to cook. Many, if not all, of the recipes have a printer friendly option for easy use as a lesson plan. I know my children take pride in their food and generally eat all of it when they have taken part in the preparation. There are so many other things on Activity TV also, such as crafts, making family gifts, and even science experiments!
Kids Cooking Activities has a ton of lesson plans for kids from toddler age up through 18 years old. The lesson plans look pretty comprehensive and cover everything from pouring (for the younger ones) to planning and making meal plans, to preserving food! There are even recipe contests as well as a monthly newsletter with recipes and cooking tips.
Video Jug has a ton of food recipe videos. You can sort the recipes by Cooking Method, by Dish, by Country, by Theme or Season, by Ingredient, by Preparation Type, or by Diet! The videos that I’ve seen look to be great quality and I love that the videos are centered around the actual cooking instead of a particular personality (like most cooking shows).
All Recipes is a great place to search for recipes in general (my one beef with them is that someone will rate a recipe as 5 star but then in the comments say “I changed this and this and added more of this and this… so be sure to read through the comments and not just the recipes!), so I think it’s great that they also have an All Recipes YouTube channel. There are several different recipes series on their YouTube channel including, “How To Videos”, “Behind The Recipe”, “Food Wishes”, “Mastered In 90 Seconds”, “Shortcut Cooking”, and many more! I’m not too thrilled with the organizational method here, but with 166 videos it’s sure to keep your aspiring cook busy for a while!
Dress Up 121 is a fun online game where you make different recipes virtually. For example, I played around with it this afternoon and made virtual sushi! I had to mix up the ingredients, cut the veggies, steam the rice, roll up the sushi rolls, and put it into a nice visual presentation! I could see this being a blast for younger children who are not ready to do things on their own in the kitchen, but would love have some hands mouse-on experience.
And be sure to download the Free Basic Kitchen Measurements Conversation Chart Printable for your children to reference!