Holiday Cooking for Speech and Language Development

Ready or not, the holidays are right around the corner! This means family, fun, vacations, and a lot of free time. And let’s face it; you’ll most likely have a lot of cooking to do. So, why not have your kids help you, while you help them by making cooking into a fun speech and language activity!

Recipes are a great way to target a variety of speech and language goals in a fun, unstructured way. There is a lot of planning and processing needed to execute a perfect recipe and let’s face it, even the adults don’t always get it right – I know I’ve made a mistake or two! (Why is that cup of flour still sitting on the counter when my cookies are already in the oven?)

Here’s a list of speech and language activities you can tackle with some fun, kid-friendly Thanksgiving desserts from

  • Sequencing: Read through the recipe and have your child identify what step is first or last. You can incorporate concepts such as before, after, and next. For example, “What comes after the eggs?” You can also have your child repeat the directions in order – if it’s not too complicated! Feel free to use a visual with this task, draw a simple pictures (i.e. a mixing bowl, spoon, cookie sheet) to support each step.
  • Word recall: Read out the list of ingredients for your child and have him repeat a few, or even all of them, back to you. This is a great way to target word retrieval and working memory skills. You can expand this into compiling a list for the grocery store. Talk about what items you need and write them down!
  • Categorization: Categorize the food items into groups – dairy, fruit, candy, etc. Talk about what sections of the store you might find the items in when you go and why they are there. For example, “We’re looking for apples, where might we find those? With the meat or with the fruit?”
  • Articulation: Pick out words that have your child’s target sound and practice them while making the recipe. For example, if your child is working on their “ch” sound, emphasize the words that have that sound every time! For example, “Oh! It’s time for the chocolate! You try to say it, chocolate!”
  • Recalling Auditory Information: Very similar to sequencing – read through the recipe and have your child recall some details, whether it is ingredients, steps, or how to do certain tasks. This is great if your child is working on language processing skills.
  • Reading Comprehension: If your child is reading, have him read through the recipe. Then, test his knowledge with a few questions. For example, “When do we put in the flour?” or “How hot does the oven need to be?

Remember, cooking with your kids is fun! Try to pick one or two activities to incorporate into your recipe, don’t overwhelm yourself or your child by trying to make this into a structured learning task. This is a great way to learn, work on speech and language goals, and have fun with your family all at the same time.

Click here to see a copy of our Speech and Language Milestones Infographic!