by Sarah Dubrow
- Pick a simple recipe (Or add miscellaneous ingredients into a bowl)
- If possible, have toys that resemble the cooking supplies
- Or give your child safe real materials
- Decide what words or phrases you would like to target with your child
- Use the provided strategies throughout your cooking session to elicit communication from your child.
Techniques to Increase Language Use
- Modeling – Hold objects close your mouth and say the target word. Having them make eye contact with you will draw their attention to you and help with imitation
- Descriptive Play – Describe what your child is doing as they are doing it . For example, you might say: “You are putting the flour in the bowl”
- “More” – Give your child only 1-2 pieces of something or give them less of what they need. This will encourage them to ask for more
- Repetition – When your child wants a certain item (or you are giving them an item) model the word 2-3 times before proceeding. After you model the word 3 times, give them what they want
“Ingredients” (Useful Words)
- Adjectives: Big, Small, Cold, Hot
- Prepositions: In, On, Under, Behind
- Nouns: Mommy/Daddy, Spoon, Bowl, Cup, Food, Drink, Mouth, Fingers, Hands, Belly/ Tummy
- Social Words: More, Please, Thank you, All Done, Help
- Verbs: Want, Drink, Eat, Clean Up, Mix, Stir, Shake, Pour, Dump
Common First Words Adapted from: The Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale (2006)
Other Language Rich Situations
In addition to cooking, use other daily activities to enhance language development.
- Going Shopping: Line up empty boxes or toy foods and have your child “go shopping” for foods they want or enjoy
- Singing: Incorporate familiar songs or sound effects into your cooking routine. For example, using “Clean up” song when the activity is finished
- Daily Routines: If a cooking session is too complex or time consuming, the provided techniques can be incorporated into other daily activities such as snack time, brushing teeth, dressing etc.
Other Helpful Online Resources: