As many of you know I love to do cooking activities with my students. It’s a great way to work on some many different language and social skills while having fun. My students are always engaged and willing to participate when we cook in speech! I created an easy recipe I’m using with my students this week and next week to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This is similar to the Leprechaun Dip I made with my students on St. Patrick’s Day. The difference is I’m adding red food coloring instead of green for Valentine’s Day. I wanted to share this as a free resource you can use with your students. I made both a visual and written version of this recipe depending on your students’ skill level. I also created visual and written follow-up questions.
For the Valentine’s Dip, I created 2 different size recipes. I use the regular Valentine Dip recipe with my small groups when I have 2-3 students in the group. Since I’m doing this as a whole group lesson in two of my special education classrooms, I also created a Large Group Valentine Dip version. I have the students take turns reading or helping me read each step of the recipe. I have the students work on requesting each ingredient and adding it to the bowl. This is great to work on turn taking!
I like to include different kitchen utensils into my recipes and this one uses a hand mixer. The students get to take turns helping mix the ricotta cheese and cream cheese with the mixer. Then we take turns requesting the other ingredients and adding them to the bowl. You students can work on requesting verbally, with picture exchange, or with their AAC devices. Lots of practice requesting!
The recipe does need a few minutes in the refrigerator for the dip to chill and set but that is the perfect time to clean up, review the steps to make the recipe, answer questions, and set up the sugar cones and graham crackers for dipping. You can also use the pictures at the end to help the students re-sequence the steps to make the dip. First ricotta cheese, second cream cheese, third powdered sugar, fourth vanilla, fifth red food color and sixth chocolate chips. What is more motivating to work on sequencing then cooking! Hope your students enjoy making and eating the dip!!!
This is another fun activity you can use with your students to celebrate Valentine’s Day. You can’t eat it but the kids love making it and playing with the gooey mixture. It’s so awesome. This is a simple recipe which targets following directions, building up vocabulary, and sequencing. I’ll attach the recipe for this activity at the end too. To set up the activity, the students and I read the first line of the recipe. We get out the bowl and then I set the other 3 items on the table – Corn Starch, Water, and Red Food Coloring. I have the students verbally say the items or point to the pictures of the items.
First add 1 cup of corn starch into the bowl. I have the students take turns adding the different items into the bowl. I hold up my finger and say “first corn starch”. I also model the “in” concept – “in the bowl”. Second we add ½ cup of water into the bowl. Third we add 5 drops of red food coloring into the bowl. Then we mix up the ooze with our hands.
The mixture is really an interesting texture. It is pretty liquidy but you can pick it up. I have the students drop the ooze on the table but then they can scoop the mixture back up again. It is so crazy!!!! It looks a little messy but it’s really easy to clean up. You can scrap it right up off the table with your hands and most of the mess is gone. This is also a good sensory activity for many of our students.
After we take time playing with the ooze I have the students complete the follow up sequencing activity. The students need to place the 3 items used in the recipe in the correct order. Depending on your students skill level you can work on having the students retell you the steps to make the ooze. You can even have some of the students write the steps.
Big and Small Valentine Heart Sort
I made another one of my big/small holiday sorts using lots of different cute hearts for Valentine’s Day. I like using these size sorts with my students to work on sorting, size concepts, and following directions. This activity is super simple to set up. All you need to do is print, laminate, and cut out the hearts and you are ready to go! There are 24 big hearts and 24 corresponding small hearts.
If you have used my other holiday sorts this will be familiar to you. Sometimes I set up the activity by putting the big and small cards on the table but this time I actually used big and small baskets for the sort. You could also attach a magnet on the back and put them on your classroom white board. Then I hold up one heart and model the size concept before putting it in the correct big/small spot. Next, I model the other size concept and put it under the correct size heart. I reviewed those “big” and “small” concepts multiple times for my students before we started the sorting activity.
You can change the level of prompting depending on your student’s skill level and what you want to target with this activity. Some of my students are still learning about size concepts so they needed a lot of prompting to help them place the heart in the correct pile. The focus for these students is attending to the heart and sorting it by size. For other students I used this as a following directions activity involving size and even number concepts. You can modify the activity depending on your student’s skill level and exposure to size concepts. When I’m focusing on size concepts, I held up a big and a small heart and I provided a verbal instruction including the size concept. For example, “take big” or “find the big heart”. After my student selected the correct heart I had them place the heart in the correct size pile.
You can also work on expressive language skills with this activity. When targeting those expressive skills, I just held up a heart and had my student verbally or with their AAC device request the heart including the size concept. They can say “big” or “small” and then I hand them the heart and he/she can place it in the correct spot. You can also work with your students on expanding their utterances such as “big heart”, “I see big”, or “I see small heart”. It’s an easy activity to set up and use with your students!