As Thanksgiving approaches cooking with your child is a great activity. First, it gets them interested in new foods and making healthy (relatively!) dishes. Second, it can occupy them in a purposeful manner and help you keep your sanity! Third, it’s an easy opportunity to address different language goals (the purpose of most of my blogs!) Two recipes I like to do with my kiddos at the office are Easy Pumpkin Pie and Sweet Potato Casserole. I make these with both my feeding clients and speech and language clients as they can be tailored to both.
One thing I like to do prior to starting a cooking activity is to ask the child the difference between materials and ingredients. If they don’ t know, plan to talk about it while cooking.
Easy Pumpkin Pie:
Ok, so most kids don’t LOVE the taste of pumpkin. This recipe uses only a little bit, but gets them used to a new texture, taste, and color of food.
Can of pumpkin pie mix (will only use ~1 tblspn so make sure you have other plans for the rest of the can)
1 vanilla pudding cup
1 pre-made mini-graham cracker crust (they come in packs of 6)
Can of whipped cream (optional)
1. Scoop the pudding into the pie crust
2. Add 1-2 spoonfuls of pumpkin pie mix
3. Mix the pudding and pumpkin pie mix (fun to guess what color it will end up)
4. Add whipped cream if desired. Done! How easy is that?
After he/she has eaten it all up (hopefully), have them re-tell the steps. Make sure they list the ingredients and tell you what materials they needed (maybe just a spoon in this recipe!).
Sweet Potato Casserole
This one is a little longer, so click here for recipe. (Also, it’s easy to modify and increase or decrease the recipe depending on how much is needed)
I love this one because there are lots of opportunities for texture changes. Have your child look at the sweet potatoes and eggs before they are cooked/cracked open. Discuss what they see (e.g., shape, color). Cook/crack them, discuss their new look. Then, have your child help mash the sweet potatoes and beat the eggs. Do they look the same or different now?
Taste the sweet potato mix before you add the topping. Discuss its texture (smooth, soft, mushy). Guess what the topping will taste like – smooth or crunchy?
Once its baked, it is a great combination of crunchy and mushy.