I still like to pre-measure all of the ingredients when Otto (3yrs) is cooking. It makes his cooking time faster and so much cleaner. But I feel like it's almost time for him to measure his ingredients himself. So I've started to introduce him to measuring cups.
To begin I presented him with the measuring cups, allowing him to look at them and hold them. Then I presented a measuring cup matching tray.
I love these Rainbow Fractions Measuring Cups as they as visual measuring cups and are also colour coded. These visual measuring cups have the same radius so they are in equivalent proportions to their respective fraction sizes, children can visually see the difference in fraction sizes.
Although it will take a while before Otto understands factions, this activity allows him to learn the symbols and names of the different-sized cups and this will later assist him when using a visual recipe.
This is also a good activity for a child who is working on number recognition.
We could teach the child to measure with the cups on a sand table, water table, sensory bin or even in the sandpit. I've put together an activity for the child to learn to fill, level, and pour different sized cups. Here we started with the 1 cup.
I've used coloured salt as we have plenty in the cupboard and the colour makes it easy to see.
We fill the measuring cup with the scoop, a spoon would also work well.
Then we level off the salt using the back of a knife. If we didn't want to use a knife, a large craft stick (large paddle pop stick) or even the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula would work well.
The child needs to learn to hold the cup straight, but Otto still does a pretty good job of leveling it off.
We practice using different sized cups. Because the quarter cup is smaller it's much easier for the child to handle.
Then level it off!
Practicing measuring in a tray helps to contain the spillage. Here we are working on our outside deck so salt on the floor doesn't matter so much.
Otto wanted to make playdough so we tried some measuring inside, in the kitchen. First half a cup of flour.
Then a quarter a cup of salt. Again the tray really helps. Overall the measurements were as accurate as needed for our recipe. But we will continue to practice. While Otto is three, these activities would be relevant to any child three, four, or five who are new to using measuring cups.
This would also be fun to try with measuring spoons!
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