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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