I enjoy cooking and baking with my daughter. Cooking has been a great way for her to learn many daily living skills. What is wonderful about cooking with your child is that is is the ultimate trifecta – a) you get to spend quality time with your child b) you get to eat some yummy food and c) they learn a ton of valuable daily living skills.
In this article, we will focus on how to use cooking to teach living skills. When I was working with students in middle school as an occupational therapist, I would often push into the Life Skills class and work on these “Activities of Daily Living”, or ADLs, as we call it.
Here are five life skills you can teach/learn from cooking!
- Reading skills. Kids can follow recipes based on their reading level: you can write or find recipes that had words with pictures or just words. We used a fabulous online weekly newspaper called News2You geared specifically for students with unique learning needs. Every week it had current and world event articles along with a recipe. It’s a paid yearly subscription that may be well worth the money.
- Practical Math Skills. Recipes involve a lot of counting and measuring.
- Following instructions. Recipes are great ways to get a child to follow a sequence of instructions and being organized. It is also super easy to discover what happens when you skip a step or do it in the wrong order. We’ve had some terrible outcomes that we can laugh about!
- Bilateral skills. which just means using two hands together, like mixing with a spoon, pouring ingredients into a bowl, etc.
- Motor skills and dexterity. Children as young as 3 years of age can learn knife skills using a plastic or dull butter knife to cut soft foods like a banana and strawberries, with parental supervision, of course. Handling and gripping ingredients of various sizes (eggs, beans, nuts, raisins) are great ways to practice fine motor skills
Here are some great websites to check out to start getting busy in the kitchen with your kids. Some are cooking clubs to join which are pretty cool. Explore these websites, then fire up the kitchen and start cooking!
- Cooking skills every child should learn by age 1o by Eating Well
- Best cooking subscription boxes by The Spruce Eats
- Raddish Kids
- Everyone Loves Pizza – a yummy sensory friend recipe
- Homemade Gluten-free Protein bars
- Chocolate Zucchini Muffins – Nutritious, Delicious and Sensory-friendly
I guarantee you will get as much out of it as your child(ren) will. It’s a fun, interactive, hands-on way to spend some time teaching your kiddos new skills, and spending quality time together. 😁