We are not surprised when we ask campers what their favorite camp activity is and they answer, “Cooking!” This summer, we added cooking as a regular activity at Teen & Tween Camp. Campers experience the fun of cooking (and tasting), but fun isn’t the only reason that we wanted to add this to our list of activities.
Cooking provides a structure for campers to work on so many important skills. Following a recipe helps master single-step and two-step directions. Cutting, stirring and measuring hone fine motor skills. Campers face an array of sensory challenges while cooking from the way ingredients feel or smell and the sounds of some kitchen equipment. (As you can imagine, we learned a lot when we introduced blenders into our cooking class.) Preparing food before you can eat it takes patience and helps develop a level of comfort with delayed gratification.
Campers practice social skills when they work in pairs or small groups to prepare and clean up, which fosters an understanding of being responsible to others. We also are committed to making healthy treats, which we hope inspires our camper chefs to make healthy food choices when they are not at camp.
With a camp group as diverse as ours, we make a lot of modifications to instructions and ingredients. We are lucky to work with instructors from Sticky Fingers Cooking who have converted all of the recipes we use to be gluten-free, nut-free and kosher. (They have a great substitution list for allergies in recipes that you can find here.)
If you want to continue cooking at home, here are some of the recipes that we’ve made this summer. (These have not been adapted for allergies or gluten.)
Also, keep an eye out for a new Keshet cooking class taking place on Sundays this winter for kids and teens.