Depending on where you live, winters can feel a bit long. This is especially true when it comes to early learning classrooms and speech therapy rooms. When kiddos are a bit stir-crazy, there's nothing I love more than a great visual recipe. If you're looking for a way to engage the young learners in your life this season, check out these five, fun winter no-cook recipes for hands-on learning!
What Are Visual Recipes?
If you've been around here a while, you already know how much I LOVE cooking with kids and using visual recipes. But just in case you're new here, let's chat about visual recipes and how to use them.
Visual recipes are kid-friendly cooking activities that feature full-color recipe cards with step-by-step directions. Each card uses visual supports in the form of pictures to help young and non-verbal learners build communication skills through fun and engaging cooking lessons.
With the included visual supports, kids can play an active part in the cooking process. With a little guidance, students can use the visual recipe independently.
Visual recipes are perfect for SLPs, teachers, parents, and anyone who works with young children. They're also a great way to practice key communication skills like vocabulary, grammar, answering/asking questions, following directions, sequencing, expressive language, socializing, and basic concepts.
I love using themed visual recipes each month to further enhance engagement in cooking lessons. Children LOVE seasonally-themed recipes, so it's super simple to grab their attention and keep it through the duration of the lesson. All of these factors make visual recipes perfect for long winter days when you're stuck inside!
Using Winter No-Cook Recipes
The best thing about all 5 of these kid-friendly recipes is that they are "no-cook". That means you won't need access to a stove or oven to make them! Each recipe will require only a microwave or simple kitchen tools to make. That means these recipes can be used in a variety of ways. You can use these visual recipes at home with your kids to make fun, winter treats. You can try using these recipes in your SLP sessions to encourage language development. Or, you can incorporate these into your preschool, kinder, or elementary school lesson plans for a fun, seasonal activity
Whether you use these recipes in the classroom, in speech sessions, or at home with your own children, I know you'll be hooked once you start! Visual recipes provide an opportunity for learning while also fostering relationships and creating memories. It doesn't get much better than that! Let's get cookin'!
1. Polar Bear Snack
First up, I have a fun winter Polar Bear Snack that I know your kiddos will love! This recipe doesn't even require a microwave and allows children plenty of hands-on time since each child gets to make their own polar bear. These little bears turn out SO cute and the children will love that they each get to make their very own.
If you are in a classroom or homeschooling, this polar bear visual recipe is the perfect activity to add to your arctic animal unit. It's a wonderful way to reinforce vocabulary learned through a related science unit.
This activity can also be extended by reading a fun book about polar bears first and talking with students about polar bear body parts. Ask children to point out the polar bear's ears, eyes, snout, and nose. Then ask them if they have these same body parts as well. These questions will help further promote conversation and language development among your group.
The included vocabulary cards and comprehension questions will help you take this cooking activity to the next level!
2. Popcorn Snowballs
Next up, Popcorn Snowballs! Have you ever made popcorn balls? This winter version of them is so much fun and super simple to make. This recipe does require a microwave, so make sure you have access to one before beginning.
This winter no-cook recipe is a great way to introduce new vocabulary words to students. Included in the visual recipe resource, you'll find full-color vocabulary picture cards for all of the ingredients and tools used. Before beginning the cooking lesson, take a minute to go through the cards and ask the children if they know the word.
Taking the time to do this prior, means you'll be able to ask the children to help "read" the recipe as you cook together. As they see each familiar picture on the card they'll better be able to recall the vocabulary words discussed before the lesson.
3. Frozen Hot Chocolate
Everyone LOVES hot chocolate right? I know I sure do! In the wintertime, it can be fun to mix things up with this Frozen Hot Chocolate Recipe!
This yummy recipe is a great way to introduce students to the blender. This means it is a great opportunity to introduce new vocabulary. Using the blender definitely makes this "no cook" recipe feel like cooking.
When you are finished, use the included vocabulary and picture cards to have your students practice sequencing the recipe. It's a great way to work on this important skill while also reviewing the vocabulary from the recipe.
This decadent treat would be perfect for a classroom party, a Fun Friday speech session, or an after-dinner dessert with your own kiddos at home!
4. Melted Snowman
Have you ever read Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright? In this silly, winter story, Sneezy the Snowman isn't feeling well and is extra cold! To warm himself up, he drinks cocoa, sits in a hot tub, stands near the fire, and finally melts! In this fun story, the children help put Sneezy back together to help him feel better. I LOVE using this book before making our next recipe - Melted Snowmen!
It's a great way to connect the winter season, a cute picture book and winter vocabulary in one activity. Your students will love working on their speech and language goals as the make their own melted snowmen.
Using the visual recipe, the picture and word cards and the included questions, students can review what they learned after completing the recipe.
5. Marshmallow Snowman FREEBIE
Finally, I have a super fun, FREE winter, no-cook recipe for you to try! This is the perfect way to test out visual recipes with the kiddos in your life.
I love to use this activity along with my "How to Catch a Snowman" Adapted Book Piece Set.
To get started, you'll need the book How to Catch a Snowman by Adam Wallace & Andy Elkerton. While I think this is definitely one you want on your bookshelf, you can also grab it from your school or local library.
If you've never read this book before, it's a MUST! Kiddos will love following along in this silly story and it's even better when paired with the adaptable book pieces.
Included in the resource you'll find 24 questions to answer with 2 answer choices per question. As you read the story, use the question-and-answer strips to extend learning and promote communication skills.
After we've read the book and answered the questions, I love to follow it up with these Marshmallow Snowmen!
Grab the FREEBIE and give visual recipes a try with your kids today!
These winter no-cook recipes are amazing all on their own, but the January Visual Recipe resource is packed with SO much more! Inside this resource, you'll find vocabulary cards, comprehension questions, and cheat sheets for each recipe! There's also a to-do list, shopping list, and student/client preference sheet.
The cheat sheets include a list of questions to extend learning and promote conversation among your group. This is a great way to make sure your children get the most out of every activity! You'll also find a list of vocabulary words, basic concepts, core words/phrases, and more to use throughout these lessons.
Ready to get started with the kiddos in your life? Grab the January Visual Recipes pack and get started right away! Don't forget to make the most of your winter no-cook activities with the vocabulary cards, comprehension questions, and support resources to extend learning opportunities! Have fun friends!
Using these resources with the winter no-cook recipes will make all the difference when it comes to hitting learning goals and expanding communication skills. Cooking with kids is so much fun, but it's also a great opportunity for learning with the visual recipe cards and support resources!
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