If you've been around here for any length of time you may have noticed that cooking with kids is kind of my thing! I love to chat all about the benefits of cooking with kids and how to incorporate cooking into speech therapy and at home. Today I want to talk about my favorite cooking tool to use with kids... Visual Recipe Cards! Come along as we take a deep dive into visual recipe cards. We'll discuss what they are, how to use them, and all the benefits you can expect to see!
What Are Visual Recipes?
First off, you might be wondering what on earth I'm talking about when I say visual recipes. Visual recipes are simply kid-friendly recipe cards with pictures representing all tools, ingredients, and actions performed for each step of the recipes. Because of these pictures and kid-friendly elements, visual recipes are a great way to encourage language development.
Visual recipes are filled with visual supports, which are valuable learning tools that can help increase understanding of language, encourage positive behavior and provide structure and support.
As an SLP, teacher, or parent, you will find that using visual recipes is a great way to target specific communication and behavioral skills in a fun way. Visual recipes will easily grab the interest of your little learners and help you facilitate a fun and engaging lesson!
What Skills Can I Target With Visual Recipes?
I am so glad you asked! Visual recipes provide endless opportunities for learning but there are a few specific skills that I find to be especially easy to target when using them.
Build Basic Concepts & Listening Skills
If you work with littles in any capacity you know this is key! Helping children learn to listen and work on basic concepts like following directions will serve them in your sessions and beyond. When using visual recipes, you can expect to work on following directions, spatial concepts, sequencing, and more in a super fun format. Students LOVE participating in a visual recipe activity and are often eager to perk up and truly listen to directions.
Promote Language and Literacy
Reading a recipe with your students or children is a great way to promote literacy in an engaging way. Visual recipe cards are laid out in a fun, kid-friendly format with plenty of pictures and visual clues. Children will love listening to or reading along as you go over the recipe together. This is also a great way to introduce new vocabulary words like tools and ingredients used in the recipes.
Improve Vocabulary & Articulation Skills
Speaking of vocabulary, I should mention that visual recipe cards are not only a great way to introduce new words, but they are also helpful to take a deep dive into articulation. Specific speech skills can be targeted by using the names of food, cooking tools, colors, and more. For example, if you are targeting an "s" sound, focus on words like "soft", "salt" and "cups".
Target WH Questions & Expand Utterances
These are both BIG ones in the speech world and luckily, visual recipes make targeting these skills super simple. Using visual recipe cards is a great way to present opportunities for plenty of WH questions while you have full engagement. Ask children questions like, "What will we use to mix our ingredients?" or "What does our flour feel like?".
Work on expanding utterances by making requests, commenting, and asking more questions with your kiddos. Cooking with children offers many opportunities to expand on vocabulary and learn new adjectives and verbs.
Create Sensory Experiences
Cooking with visual recipe cards offers so many opportunities for students to see, feel, smell, and taste ingredients. Sensory experiences are a great way to help young students learn more about the world around them and explore new things. I love using visual recipe cards to introduce new foods and allow students to form personal opinions about them.
Boost Self Confidence & Strengthen Relationships
Visual recipes offer a great opportunity for young learners to "take the wheel" in a new activity. Due to the visual nature of the cards, children are often able to draw conclusions in the steps and take action. This is a wonderful way to foster self-confidence and help children develop a sense of accomplishment. Cooking with kiddos also helps to strengthen relationships while carrying out a fun activity together!
How Do I Use Visual Recipes?
Now that you know all about what visual recipe cards are and all the amazing skills you can target with them, let's jump into how to use them!
Possibly the best thing about visual recipes is how simple they are to use. Each of my visual recipe cards has 5 steps or less, making them super simple to use in any classroom, therapy session, or at home!
To get started using visual recipes, all you need to do is select your recipe, gather your tools and ingredients and get to it!
I love that visual recipes can be used in one-on-one sessions as well as with larger groups. As an SLP, I used visual recipes in my sessions regularly because they truly are so simple to sneak into any themed lesson but I also use them regularly at home with my own kiddo!
Additionally, many of my visual recipes use the same, simple ingredients so you can make more than one recipe. Implementing visual recipes truly is as simple as choosing a recipe and getting started. Visual recipes will simplify cooking with kids and add opportunities for targeting big learning goals!
Tips To Get Cooking!
Ready to start cooking with the kids in your life? I hope so! There are so many benefits to using visual recipes with young learners. If you're thinking about getting started with visual recipes, I have a few tips to help make your cooking experience smoother.
1. Prepare & Plan
Once you're ready to get cooking, make sure to gather up all of your ingredients and tools ahead of time. Running around looking for a specific item can take your activity down a stressful road. Plus, being prepared will allow you more time to connect with your littles, ask ample questions and target specific skills!
I also recommend washing fruits and veggies ahead of time, or if you have access to a sink making this part of your lesson.
2. Set Up & Organize
Once you know you have everything you need for your recipe, run through the visual card with your kiddo(s). Have them work through the list of ingredients with you and make sure you have everything you need together with them. This is a great way to convey how to use a recipe with your student and provide additional opportunities for learning.
Once you have done this, move slowly through your recipe. Pause to ask questions, prompt speech opportunities, and make your activity more engaging! Taking the time to slow down while cooking will provide more opportunities for growth and learning.
3. Learn & Adapt
As with anything that involves young children, you will find some things work and some don't! As you run through your cooking lesson together, take note of what children are struggling with, make adjustments, and fine-tune your process as you go! The great thing about visual recipe cards is that they are super simple and very kid friendly so you will have a great starting point.
What Type Of Recipes Are Included?
The visual recipe cards have been broken down into 4 fun categories so there's a little something for everyone! Once you get cooking with kids, you can experiment with recipes to provide variety in your cooking sessions. The categories include:
1. Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables
This category is filled with healthy snacks that are fruit or veggie based. This is a great category to use when trying to encourage children to try new foods and expand their interests. Some of the fun recipes in this section include Green Bean Fries, Blender Applesauce, and Yogurt Ranch Dip!
2. Snack Attack
This collection of visual recipes features quick and easy snacks that kids love! These recipes are great for afternoons and will introduce your kiddos to new snack options. Some of the included recipes are Apple Pizzas, Hot Dog Bites, and Cheesy Nachos!
3. Real Meals
These delicious lunch and dinner recipes will help make your kiddo a true kitchen pro! The big appeal of these visual recipes is that children can make a meal that the whole family can enjoy together. Visual recipes included for this category include Cheesy Baked Pasta, Mini Chicken Pot Pies, Super Sliders, and many more!
4. Sweet Tooth
This might be everyone's favorite category! Sweet tooth visual recipes are filled with delicious creations to satisfy any dessert craving. From this collection, kiddos can make "Dirt" Dessert, White Chocolate Popcorn, Cookie Dough Bites, and more!
Get Started With Visual Recipes
I hope you're ready to give visual recipes a go with the children in your life! Whether you're a parent, teacher, or SLP; visual recipe cards are for you! Offer engaging cooking lessons that are perfectly tailored to young learners and see just what these visual recipes can add to your learning routines. You can check out my physical, visual recipe cards here! Included you will find 48 fantastic, kid-friendly recipes that you and your littles will love!
Also, if you haven't already- be sure to download one of my digital, visual recipes to test out first and see what they're all about! I recommend my S'mores on a Stick Freebie if you're looking for a quick and simple recipe with minimal ingredients. Have fun cooking, friends!
Save This Post
Don't forget to save this post on your favorite Pinterest board so you can come back and check out visual recipes when you're ready to start cooking!