I enjoy baking in the kitchen with my children; definitely NOT because of mess (!!!) but because of all the speech and language work that can be done!
Cut-out cookies are definitely the favorite of all but they will settle for anything really that involves sugar (yes, they get to taste test most of the ingredients) and cracking an egg. Getting to man the mixer is an added bonus!
Depending on the ages of your children, and their specific speech/language needs, there are so many things that can be targeted through this functional and fun task! Here are some ideas:
- Speech sounds: What sound is your child having a hard time producing? Use this activity as an opportunity to bombard them with a word using that sound (i.e., /m/ – mix, /p/ – put in, s-blends – stir, spoon, scoop). Let me know if you need some ideas for a particular sound.
- Following simple directions with concepts
- Turn the mixer on/off (with adult supervision, of course!)
- Put the dough on the cookie sheet
- use additional concepts between, middle, top, bottom
- Mix everything together
- Time/Sequence concepts – first/then or first/second/third, fourth
- First put the eggs in, then mix it all together
- Let’s put the cookies in the oven. Is it time to take them out?
- Taking turns (either between you and your child or multiple children)
- LOTS of adjectives, adverbs and antonyms (and alliteration for the parents!)
- Make the blender go fast/slow.
- Your hands are dirty. Now they are clean.
- The oven is hot
- The dough is sticky
- Sugar tastes sweet. What is something that tastes sour?
- Should I put ketchup in the cookies? NO!
- Do you like how baking soda tastes? (usually the answer is no, but one of my sons actually likes the taste!)
- Do NOT touch the stove – it is hot
- 1 to 1 correspondence (helps in reading and math) – have your child point to and count each cookie on the cookie sheet
- Expressive language
- Work on single word utterances (cookie, hot, stop/go) and model combining words (my turn, I go, me first, cookie hot)
- Use simple language, but talk often! Explain to your child everything you are doing. Even if they are unable to answer questions yet, still ask them and then you can answer them for your child (i.e., Do you want to eat a cookie when we are done? Yes, I’m sure you do. They taste so good! My favorite is peanut butter. Yum. What is your favorite cookie? Maybe it is chocolate chip or sugar!). This helps them understand the flow of conversation.
Indirectly, literacy is targeted as your child is seeing you reading a recipe and they are learning that those symbols have meaning! As we all know, children like to be just like the adults in their environment, so I like to give my children something that they are able to ‘read’ as well as they bake.
I couldn’t find this specific one that we use in my computer documents, so I decided to make up a new one for all of you (and we’ve been using this one for 7 years so it is time for an upgrade!). I recommend laminating it and then your child can mark off what they used in their recipe over and over! I keep these in their play kitchen area so that they can also use them in their dramatic play as well. This works on literacy skills because your child is able to ‘read’ the words (by looking at the pictures) and start understanding that those words have meaning. I made a printable for cookies and cupcakes. Let me know if there is a different recipe you’d be interested in! This printable is also available over on my Teachers Pay Teachers site here.
Usborne has some great books related to food. We have the Questions and Answers: Food book and it is one of our favorites. You can see inside this book here. Some other books that I would recommend include: My First Word Book About Food and My First Reference Book About Food for the younger kids and 100 Things to Know About Food and Chef Academy for older children.
I would love to hear what you enjoy baking with your children!