If you living in the special ed world you have probably heard of using cooking lessons in the classroom. This always sounds really weird to people at first. I get confused faces and some weird reactions from those out of the loop. But a lot of time we know how cooking activities can be awesome but we don’t really know why or how to make them this way!
Cooking activities rock my world because my little bundles of love are always (shockingly) perfectly behaved. Those attention seeking and escape behaviors that drive me up the wall every other second of the day are sometimes mysteriously gone. Why? Because my kids are chomping at the bit to participate in cooking. What is more motivating than food right? Now while these cooking activities can be amazingly fun and beneficial, if not planned and prepared for properly – you will have a crazy hot mess on your hands.
Cooking is great to work on expressive/receptive language, sequencing, requesting, question answering, fine motor skills, measuring, counting, matching, life skills, independent living skills… you sold yet?
How to prepare:
- Visual or Adapted Recipe: I have made a lot of my own visual recipes for items for my students who are lower functioning or non-readers. I have some freebies on here (double fudge, pineapple smoothie, pumpkin waffles, Thanksgiving food) and I also have some sets on TpT (Pb&J and Mini Pizzas, Rice Krispies and Chocolate Pie, French Toast and Caramel Apples). I have got to upload some more – I have tons. The freebie will give you ideas on what I mean. My SLP will make two version of each recipe – a visual one for my lower kids and I written one (written in simple language) for my higher kids. We also make corresponding PECS pictures for the recipes. For higher kids you can also use a recipe on a box and highlight right on the box to make it easier to follow. That’s a great quick and easy accommodation.
- Get everything ready ahead of time. Have all of you kitchen equipment, food, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, etc. My SLP and I like to leave the food in the fridge or cabinet so the kids need to discriminate correctly where each food item is stored (ie. is milk in the fridge or the cabinet?).
- Have loads of visuals ready! Have your behavior management visuals or token economies on hand! Oh yea need more visuals? I thought you would never ask! Well here ya go! Download at the bottom 🙂
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