Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Kitchen Classroom - Lessons while cooking

Woodbine House has come out with a book called The Kitchen Classroom and I was lucky enough to win one during a Facebook giveaway!

The Kitchen Classroom is visually appealing for a child to use. It has color photos of each recipe in the book and it comes with a CD that has full color photos and easy read step by step instructions. For instance you not only read that you need to stir the ingredients to mix them together, but you see a full page color picture of a child stirring. Since I didn't want to print the recipe, we kept the lap top on the table and had my daughter follow the instructions as we cooked.

The first recipe we did was Funny Face Toast. Each recipe tells you what level of difficulty they are. This was one of the easiest ones so I figured it was a good place to start.

The book focuses on many skill areas and each part of the recipe has a symbol to let you know what area that focuses on. The skills they cover are Math, Science, Literacy, Communication/Language, Social Skills, Sensory, Fine Motor and Gross Motor. This particular recipe had some instruction for every one of these except Science.

We then started by washing our hands (there is even photo instruction of that as well). Next you read the recipe. We then chose and cut the fruit to make the face on our toast.

Then we added some butter and peanut butter. Spreading is one skill Gess is still working on and this was some good practice for her.

It is probably here that I should mention that this is a gluten-free cookbook. I was actually reluctant to buy it because we do not follow that diet so I was glad I won it to try it out. Now I know that I would not have been disappointed had I purchased it. The author has a chapter on the gluten-free diet and explains how you are free to follow it or not. If you do not use that diet you simply substitute what you would personally use. For this recipe, we chose to use Peanut Butter instead of Nut Butter because that's what we normally use.

Then it was time to add the fruit to make the faces. This is a good time to talk about feelings and what kind of face you might make. Gess really enjoyed this part. Here are the faces she made.

And then of course you get to eat the final result. It was delicious and Gess ate every bite!

There is much about this book that any creative parent can do on their own. We often think about the skills we work on while cooking. What is nice about the book is that it has the visual, easy to read and follow instructions for the child. We have been trying to do one recipe a week and Gess always looks forward to picking out which one she wants using the color photos in the book. Then she writes her own grocery list and we go shopping. That's yet another way I tied more lessons into it. While all kids enjoy cooking, this book really helps kids with special needs have more independence in the process by supplying the visual aids for them to follow. And for those who do follow the gluten-free diet, it offers some variety and fun to it.

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