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HomeArticlesLearning Through Cooking: Thanksgiving Lessons for Kids

Learning Through Cooking: Thanksgiving Lessons for Kids

Kids may be out of school over Thanksgiving break, but that doesn’t mean learning has to be put on pause!

At BASIS Charter Schools, we are committed to making lifelong learners out of our students. We believe that opportunities for learning extend well beyond the classroom walls!

If you’re looking for ways to make your family’s Thanksgiving a bit more educational, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few ways your child can build important skill sets and make new discoveries while helping you out in the kitchen.

Practice math through baking

Following any recipe requires some basic math skills, but this is especially true with baking. The correct ratio can make the difference between a perfect crispy-on-the-outside-but-chewy-on-the-inside cookie and a flattened mess on the baking sheet.
Whether it’s cookies, cupcakes, or a pumpkin pie, baking is a great opportunity to teach your kids about counting, fractions, multiplication, and more! Do you need to double a recipe? Maybe you need to convert some units of measurement (for example, tablespoons to teaspoons)? Have your child help out with these calculations!

Learn about methods of heat transfer

As you prepare Thanksgiving dinner, talk to your child about the different methods of heat transfer—conduction, convection, and radiation. Explain why some foods are cooked in the oven while others are cooked on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Explore different states of matter

Learn about the states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) through cooking experiments. Before you start cooking, have your child make predictions about how the ingredients might change as heat is applied. Then, encourage them to observe changes such as butter melting, water boiling, or liquids thickening into sauces.
Another way to explore states of matter is to make homemade whipped cream! Your child will be fascinated by how heavy whipping cream and air can be combined to create an entirely different substance.

Dig into the history behind your favorite Thanksgiving foods

Cooking provides a great opportunity for your child to learn about other cultures and traditions. Leading up to Thanksgiving, take some time to research the history behind your child’s favorite Thanksgiving foods. Where did the food first originate? How did it become associated with Thanksgiving? Share what you’ve learned with your child as you prepare the foods together.

Work on fine motor skills

Preparing food is a fun way for your child to develop their fine motor skills. Look for age-appropriate tasks your child can do in the kitchen. Younger kids may enjoy measuring ingredients, cracking eggs, mashing potatoes, or pouring liquids. Older kids can complete tasks that require a bit more finesse, such as chopping or peeling vegetables. Of course, you should supervise your child at all times and teach them best practices for staying safe in the kitchen.

Get creative by dreaming up new menu items

Bring some creativity to your Thanksgiving table by asking your child about their dream holiday dinner. If the sky was the limit, what would they prepare for their holiday meal? This exercise gets your child thinking outside of the box of “traditional” Thanksgiving fare.

While you certainly don’t have to model your entire dinner after the meal your child invents, it may be fun to prepare one or two of the items they suggest. Since your child came up with the idea, they may be more inclined to help you in the kitchen!

Take your child’s learning a step further with BASIS Charter Schools

As these cooking activities show, education can happen anywhere! At BASIS Charter Schools, we embrace this same spirit of hands-on, innovative learning. Every day, our students are discovering new things, getting creative, and pursuing their interests.
Find out what makes BASIS Charter Schools the #1 tuition-free public school network in Arizona by joining us for a school tour! It’s a great way to see our classrooms in action, meet teachers and staff, and become familiar with our campuses.

Open Enrollment for the 2024–25 school year runs from Wednesday, November 15, 2023 – Friday, December 15, 2023. For more information on BASIS Charter Schools, visit



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