Having fun with food is a great way to build up your child’s speech, language and listening skills. It is a great way to bond with your child and encourage healthy eating too. There are so many different aspects of language and learning that you can target while having fun with food. You can build your child’s expressive vocabulary and understanding of different language concepts such as colours, shapes, textures, tastes, different action words such as “smear”, “chop” and “slice”
You can work on listening to a sequence of instructions in a fun way e.g. “Take 2 pieces of capsicum and make them the eyebrows.”
You can build up your child’s auditory working memory by asking them to find the ingredients they need e.g. we need an apple, a banana and an orange.
Try these food craft ideas:
- Make pizza faces with different vegetables or fruit faces on a plate. Not only is this a fun way to practise the following of directions, but you can also work on developing emotional vocabulary by making different types of faces (happy, sad, angry etc.)
- Make traffic light fruit sticks. Thread pieces of fruit onto kebab skewers in different colours (for traffic lights anything red, yellow and green!) For the older kids you can turn this into a fun memory game by hiding the stick and getting them to try and remember what order the fruit was in. For younger kids, this is a great opportunity to talk about colours
- Make different shaped sandwiches using cookie cutters. This is especially good for kids that don’t like their crusts. Use different cookie cutters to make sandwiches into shapes. This is also a fun way to encourage kids to follow instructions and helps them to identify and learn shapes
Talking about food
For older children talking about where their food comes from can be a great way of introducing concepts around farming, agriculture, biology and the environment. One fun and engaging way of doing this is by growing some of your own food at home. If you are short on space, you can even grow food without a garden. This tutorial shows you how to grow microgreens using broccoli seeds, a paper towel and some containers
You can also grow food using leftover vegetables from cooking. Many of these ways of growing vegetables such as sweet potato also show how the plants grow if a clear container is used. This can be a fun way of discussing how plants grow as well as recycling vegetable offcuts:
Let us know what fun you had in the kitchen and share your food craft ideas!
Contributed by Lisa Nailand, Senior Listening and Spoken Language Specialist and Brooke Rose, Audiologist.