Winter lockdown doesn’t have to mean endless screen time and being stuck indoors. There are plenty of ways to get outside and explore the amazing secret hot spots of nature, art and culture that South Etobicoke has to offer. Here are my top 3 local hikes to explore with my own family and our students at Oak Learners!
Comparing and contrasting food is a great way to ask exploratory open-ended questions about how a food engages our senses and later transition to questions on taste. Encourage curiosity and critical thinking by listing observations and making predictions about the squash varieties before you start cooking. Here are some examples from our recent Urban Farming & Cooking Class:
The key to promoting open-mindedness and excitement over trying new foods with kids is providing them as much control and decision-making power as possible. Trust is reciprocal, and as your child feels trusted with decisions and contributing to the cooking process, they’ll feel like they can trust the space to openly assess how they taste something
Zoodles are an accessible way to put your child in charge of the meal’s main event, while making something visually interesting and with a firmer texture then sliced or chopped options. Engage in some sensory exploration by challenging them to make and find the longest zoodle they can, and count the rings remaining on the end of a spiralized zucchini. This recipe is as great for exploring tastes as it is for enhancing fine and gross motor skills!
The versatility of cabbage when cooking with kids cannot be emphasized enough. Whether you’re lighting roasting or sautéing the leaves to introduce some oil and salt tastes, searing cabbage-steaks to absorb some Dijon and maple flavours, or munching on it raw in this egg-free coleslaw recipe, kids have ample opportunities to focus on the many ways it can be prepared and their reaction to the variations, rather than deciding the foods merit based on one flavour profile.
There’s no shortage of ketchup varieties available, but no matter what brand name or homemade option you’re reaching for, all bottles provide a perfect introduction to the five core tastes; sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.
This or that? Exploring new foods with deeper questions around why one is tastier than another allows you the ability to prompt more descriptive answers when discussing food, rather than giving kids the intimidating “yes or no” options only.
“I Spy” aims to help children improve language development, stimulate their minds and get familiar with their surroundings. It is also a great opportunity to work on their social skills when they play alongside other students in the classroom. They learn to take turns and practice amongst one another.
With the recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have switched to online learning. Due to the pandemic, children are spending more time at home and lacking the physical activity facilitated through recess and gym class when they were physically attending school. It is important for parents to find ways to incorporate physical activity at home and prioritize healthy living. In doing so, families can reduce the risk of childhood obesity and reduce the stress and anxiety experienced during these unprecedented times.