Therapy for speech, language, and occupational skills can be mentored right at home in the kitchen. Children love to help their parents create delicious foods. Baking and cooking projects help children learn to follow directions, and follow sequences.
Therapy activities can be fun. The act of cooking involves many of the skills that are targeted during speech, language and occupational therapy. Parents and caregivers can find many children’s cookbooks available – and some provide recipes that don’t even require cooking. Simple quick projects can be loaded with new vocabulary, fine and gross motor skills. These tasks also challenge your child to listen carefully.
Vocabulary that can be targeted during cooking and baking include all the items utilized during the process. If your child can read, have him or her write the names of objects used on sticky notes. Then apply the labels to the items to reinforce vocabulary. Allow your child to stir, pour, kneed dough, use a rolling pin, flip items with a spatula, etc. These tasks encourage fine motor skills to develop.
When the food is done, you can sit together to eat the treat. Have your child retell the steps that you took to create the dish. In addition, talking with your child during a snack or meal is a perfect time to share stories. Eat, share, and enjoy!