Cooking with kids is an amazing way to get in some vocabulary practice along with fine motor skills practice in a fun and engaging way your speech therapy students will love.

10 Benefits of Using Cooking Activities with Kids!

You guys already know how much I love cooking in my speech therapy sessions. I am always trying to squeeze in some kind of cook, or “no-cook” activity- and for good reason! Today I’m discussing the top 10 benefits of using cooking activities with kids. If you haven’t already jumped on board the SLP cooking train, let me fill you in on how cooking can transform your sessions!
Cooking with kids is an amazing way to get in some vocabulary practice along with fine motor skills practice in a fun and engaging way your speech therapy students will love.


When I start a cooking project with my kiddos, I like to take my time. A huge reason for that is to focus on language development. When you’re reading recipes, you can focus on new words that students might not be familiar with. You can also dive into the names for kitchen tools and action words such as “mix, stir, measure, and scoop”. Taking the time to focus on vocabulary before we begin the activity always pays off!

No cook playdough recipes are a great way to get your students excited to follow directions and learn important vocabulary.


Young learners need LOTS of practice strengthening fine motor skills. As a preschool SLP, I am always down for an activity that helps my students work on fine motor skills! Mixing, squeezing, spreading, and cutting are just a few fun ways to develop fine motor and eye-hand coordination.


Cooking a special treat (AKA soon getting to enjoy a special treat) is HIGHLY motivating to kids. This might be one of the number one benefits of cooking with kids, honestly. Food in general is typically a great motivator for my speech clients to step outside of what feels comfortable to them. If we are making a fun recipe together, I find my kiddos are more than willing to jump into the lessons and do some serious work!


Who loves hands-on learning? I know I do! Taking an active, hands-on learning approach in any lesson provides your students with a new and exciting way to practice their skill set. Kids love hands-on activities and cooking is no exception. But have you ever noticed that many of our SLP students have some sensory issues too?!? Cooking activities allow students a non-threatening and even fun way to explore new textures, smells, and tastes!


As an SLP we know that articulation is often a goal we have with our clients. Cooking provides a natural way to connect articulation goals to the activity. Specific speech sounds can be targeted using the names of food, cooking tools, colors, and more. For example, if you are targeting the “s” sound, focus on words such as “soft”, “salt”, and “slice”. Cooking activities make it easy to weave these focus lessons in without your students even knowing it!

Using cooking activities in your speech therapy classroom not only helps build fine motor skills, but can also help build communication and collaboration skills in your students.


Ahhh, if you work with preschoolers you already know that teamwork can sometimes be a struggle for this age group. Students of this age are just learning how to cooperate with others and need ALL the practice they can get! Cooking is a great way to encourage working together in a FUN way! Kids can practice sharing, asking for a turn, discussing what they liked or didn’t like, and ultimately, building a sense of community with their peers. And . . . in the end, they see and taste the benefits of working with others.


Building self-esteem in the early years of education is essential for life-long success. As teachers and SLPs, we know that confidence-building activities will benefit our students GREATLY in the long run. Following and making recipes encourages kids to be independent and self-directed. Think about how PROUD kids are when they make something! Cooking allows them to feel accomplished and proud of their work.

This peppermint playdough recipe is a great way to get your speech therapy students excited about learning new vocabulary while also practicing following step by step instructions.


Cooking encourages kids to use critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and creativity! Cooking truly is an effortless way to encourage higher-level thinking in your lessons. Other skills targeted include following directions, sequencing, numbers, measurements, cause, and effect, listening, and more. You will be amazed at the long list of learning goals you can target in a single cooking session with your littles!


Cooking is such an important life skill especially when little kids become big kids! Learning about basic ingredients, cooking techniques, nutrition, and healthy eating happens naturally through cooking activities. Allowing students to explore these concepts is such a great service to them. Many of my speech clients have never participated in a cooking activity and I just LOVE seeing those little faces light up with excitement as they partake in learning a new skill.

This pumpkin pie in a cup visual recipe is perfect to use for cooking activities with your speech therapy students. Your students will love following the visual recipes as they also practice learning new vocabulary.


Ok, this one isn’t necessarily a skill, but isn’t this something we are all after? I mean all the skill building in the world is great, but I also want my students to remember our time together fondly and build a good rapport with them. I want to develop deep and meaningful relationships with them so that they trust me and look forward to our sessions. For me, that’s a BIG and important part of this job that shouldn’t be overlooked! And luckily, I have found cooking with my students makes this happen faster than ANY other lesson!

Your speech therapy students will love cooking with you in class. It gives them a sense of independence and accomplishment.


Are you excited to jump in?! I hope I have convinced you to give cooking a try in your classroom or SLP sessions. The list of benefits is a long one and I truly believe that adding regular cooking lessons to your sessions will dramatically improve and enrich your teaching.

If you’re looking for a SUPER simple way to start cooking with your littles, check out my Cooking and Craft Visual Recipe packs Vol. 1 and Vol 2.Volume 1 includes 50 seasonal recipes to use in your sessions. Fun recipes like Fall Leaves Rice Krispie Treats, Grinch Popcorn, and Ice Cream Dough will captivate your students! Volume 2 includes 30 more recipes for milkshakes, doughs, and snacks.


Both of these sets come with step-by-step, full-color, visual recipe cards. The detailed visual recipe cards are what sets this resource apart and make them perfect for SLP sessions. Also included you will find vocabulary cards and comprehension questions to round out your lessons. Check out both Volume 1 and Volume 2 and get cooking!


I hope you are just as excited about cooking with your students as I am! There are SO many benefits to cooking with kids and I know it will make for engaged and excited learners in your speech sessions! Don’t forget to save these ideas for later on your favorite classroom Pinterest board.

Cooking with kids is an amazing way to get in some vocabulary practice along with fine motor skills practice in a fun and engaging way your speech therapy students will love.


Happy Cooking, Friends!

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