Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Cooking with Visual Recipes


My boys love cooking and specially baking. It can be a really fun and rewarding experience. But bringing preschoolers in the kitchen might feel like a daunting task (I’m thinking of my kitchen turned flour-white from the floor to the ceiling!). I have found that to actually enjoy cooking along with them I have to really embrace it and the mess it will make! And afterwards, the kids can help clean up with you!
We also like using visual recipes. They are geared towards pre-readers and are great as they give simple directions and visual cues which help a pre-reader determine the steps himself. Also, I try to make the structure of the recipes very simple and easy to understand by adding numbers and separating the ingredients and the tools needed from the recipe.

In addition to helping children understand how to follow a recipe, visual recipes promote independence in the kitchen and teach our children important life skills. They also get a boost of confidence for being able to do it themselves. Plus, it’s great for working on math skills and fractions!

The 2 recipes provided in this set are simple with few steps. If you have never cooked with visual recipes before, I recommend to do the following:
  • Be prepared to supervise your children at all times.
  • Print the recipe and you can either use a pen for a one time use on paper (and reprint later if you want to) or laminate it and use a dry erase marker for multiple re-use.
  • Now it is time to get the ingredients and tools. It can be done one of 2 ways:
    • You can gather and prepare the supplies for your children, this will take a significant step off but you can show them what you are doing and show them how you strike out each item. If you have never followed a recipe with your child before this is the best way to go.
    • If your children are older preschoolers and/or have cooked a lot with you and used visual recipes, you can let them get the ingredients and tools themselves. They will strike out each item themselves once they have collected it.
  • Once it comes time to using the oven make sure you stand between younger children and the oven. If you are comfortable you can let older children use the oven with close supervision. 
  • When done, it's a great time to work on cleaning skills! I usually do the dishes and the boys work on cleaning the work surfaces and the floor.
If you would like to get the 2 Christmas visual recipes I drew, here is a free download. To get it please sign up for my newsletter and your first email will automatically send you a link to the PDF. Don't worry, you can unsubscribe any time but if you stay on the list, you'll get some updates and ideas from me from time to time.

Notes for the Christmas ornaments recipe: I am missing the spoon and the measuring cups in the tools... so it might be easier to hand these over to the kids while they are getting the tools they need. Also, if you air dry them rather than baking them, they will crack less.

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Christmas Tags Marble Printing

Marble printing is one of our favorite activities for many reasons! It is an entire art process and introduces the concept of print to children. It gives a beautiful end result, is really fun to make and always ends up with great sensory play.

It is messy though, so I recommend taking it outside or in the kitchen!
List of Supplies:
- Precut gift tags (I cut them from cardstock and they are 3”X1.75”) and also made square to use as cards
- Ribbons
- A hole punch
- Shaving cream (I use the cheapest I find, usually from the dollar store)
- Red and green liquid watercolors or food coloring (warning: these stain skin, clothes and porous surfaces)
- Crafts sticks or the back of a spoon for stiring
- Shallow stain proof dish (like a cookie sheet)
- Spatula - Cleaning rag (or paper towels) for wiping spills and fingers
- 1 or several clean stain-proof dishes to let the prints dry
The Setup:
The setup is very easy: gather all your supplies together (I would recommend in the kitchen, outside, or somewhere that is easy to clean with no stainable furniture) and then you can invite your children over and for the fun to begin!
Step 1: spray the shaving foam into the cookie sheet and then spread it on the cookie sheet using the spatula (or your hands!)
Step 2: add watercolor drops to the cookie sheet and swirl them around using the craft sticks. This is the fun part, however, it should not be stirred too much or the marbled effect will be lost. Demonstrate to your child how to make a marble design by making zigzags.
Step 3: it is time to dip your tags in. Dip them in and take them out right away then place them out in a dish to dry. We usually let the prints dry for about 30 minutes. You can also dip the additional paper sheets in.
Step 4: wipe the foam off of the tags. Make sure this is done quickly. If it is too slow (especially on large prints) it may leave large paint streaks. Add the ribbon to the tags.
Step 5: let the kids dig in and enjoy a new sensory experience. They will enjoy a new texture and its physical properties.

Our Favorite Art Activities

When we are home we have a few to go art activities that we enjoy doing. But first, we always have an art cart with art supplies availabl...