I never need an excuse to bake or be creative in the kitchen, and I love it when my kids join in the fun. Not only does cooking together offer the opportunity to bond with children, but it also helps them to expand their palettes, and it’s an excellent learning opportunity.
How to reinforce reading skills while cooking
Use Kid-Friendly Cookbooks
Have a few child-friendly cookbooks on hand and easily accessible to your children. Encourage your kids to help you create your meal menus by paging through and reading their cookbooks. A few of our favorite books include
- The Cookbook for Kids (Williams-Sonoma): Great Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook
- Fix-It and Forget-It Kids’ Cookbook: 50 Favorite Recipes to Make in a Slow Cooker
Ask your child to read you the next steps of the recipe, even if she is only recognizing a few of the words in the recipe. Often, there are picture cues that will help a child to identify the words and terms. Additionally, by reading a recipe, she’ll see the words that work. If she can’t yet read, always read the recipe out loud, showing her the words you’re reading. You can also ask her to identify words she does know. For emerging readers, play a word-hunt game. Write one word that’s repeated often in the recipe on a Post-it note and ask her to count every time she sees the word in the recipe.
Keep Alphabet Cookie Cutters Nearby
Bake in letters using cookie cutters to form letters in cookies, personal pizzas, and pancakes. We have this Wilton 101-Piece Cookie Cutter Set that includes the alphabet. In addition to baking, we also use the set for Play-Doh, tracing, and just general playtime. (Note: at the time of this edit, the set is available on Amazon for less than $10.)
Soft Pretzel Shaping
Make soft pretzels in the form of letters and shapes. Here’s an easy, 30-minute recipe for homemade soft pretzels.
Labels, Labels Everywhere!
Labels are a reading teacher’s dream come true. Help your emerging readers by labeling everything in your kitchen and asking your child for the foods you need. The more your child interacts with words, the more he or she will see them. Mabel’s Labels has a pack of kitchen pantry labels that you’ll love. You can even create your own label if you don’t see one for your favorite pantry foods.
You heard me; I said, “play with your food!”
Play with your food. After the food is in the oven baking, don’t clean up right away! Play with the leftover dust of flour, cinnamon, and mixes on your countertops and create letters and words in them with your child.
How do you share cooking and reading in your kitchen?