Literacy Spot #13: Recipe Books & Cooking with Kids

Recipe books and cooking experiences are fantastic for demonstrating to young children important pre-reading (and early mathematics) concepts, like actively engaging them with an understanding that literacy is meaningful and useful to everyday life and introducing new vocabulary – action words like stirring, mixing and baking, and measurment terms.

Here are a few tips for introducing recipe books as one form of literacy to your child;

The most obvious way to introduce a recipe book to your child is to use one during a cooking experience involving them. Choose a simple recipe which allows for your child to be involved in measuring ingredients and simple processes like cutting, stirring and pouring. As you refer to the recipe, read the instructions for each step aloud before assisting your child to undertake the process(es) involved.

Immy is also aware that I use recipes which I find online and we often take the laptop into the kitchen or dining room when we are cooking and use it in the same way we would a recipe book.

Strew a few recipe books or food magazines in your child’s home corner play kitchen, book basket or bookshelf.

Create an invitation to play by setting out a recipe book, child sized apron, mixing bowl, measuring cups, spoon and whisk for play. See how SquiggleMum takes this one type of play one step further in her post, Playing With Recipes.

Add a blank recipe book to your child’s drawing/writing area or make your own together using pictures cut from magazines. Make up the list of ingredients and instructions together with your child, writing down their responses for them.

What is Childhood 101â€ēs Literacy Spot? It is a weekly reminder of the importance of young children learning playfully as each week I share one idea for playing around with literacy, taken from my many years working as an early childhood teacher. Visit the previous Literacy Spot posts for more fun ideas for playing with literacy.

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  1. Christie
    Love the cooking ideas to integrate literacy, math and fun 🙂 “Pretend Soup” by Mollie Katzen is another wonderful cookbook that is early childhood friendly for young learners. In my class of 4s/5s one year, we had a long term project to have families come cook a “family favorite” dish in class. We learned so much about different machines, how to ‘read’ recipes, measuring items, cooking terms, how to be polite to try new foods, so many things. And, we created a precious class cookbook which documented our year long experience. Thanks for reminding me of that tasty and meaningful project!

  2. Love this idea. We do lots of cooking as a family so I will add this into the process.

  3. That sounds super fun. I really love the idea of teaching young kids about numbers, words, measurements, ingredients etc. through such fun activities. I truly believe that learning should always be fun, and you always provide the best ideas.
    Thanks, Christie! 🙂

    Belly B

  4. JDaniel has just discovered cookbooks! He keeps finding desserts I need to try.

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