This was the lovely activity we did yesterday. J had a great time with it as well as rehearsing his phonics. If your child is at a different stage, then this could easily be tailored to suit them. You could use it for colour recognition, number recognition, different phonemes, CVC words, high frequency words and so on. High frequency words are those that children, when in Reception and beyond, will need to learn by sight. Remember those words we used to bring home in a tin to learn? Well, we don’t have to learn them from a tin any more; far more exciting ways to learn them! It’s words such as: like, am, and, the, going, I etc.
To make the cookery activity, I simply gathered a few empty shower bottles, cups and water bottles and labelled each with a sound J is learning. I then filled them with water and to each added a different colour drop of food colouring.
I also added a few more sounds to a dipping tray. I put sugar in one section, rice pudding in another and mixture of lentils and rice in the third. I think using food for play can be a sensitive subject and where possible I make sure I put the food we play with in box afterwards to be used in future play. We have been using this collection of food for the last 6/7 months. Only the bits used in the water during this play were no longer usable but the rest was sealed up again for future use.
The final element to this play was the recipes. We had recipes to make things like, ‘Monkey Soup’,’Lola’s Milk,’ ‘Mummy’s Medicine’ and so on. The recipe’s gave four instructions each and had things like, ‘2 sprinkles of a,’ ‘4 drops of t,’ ‘2 pinches of p’ and so on. These recipe’s were written on an old cardboard box, cut up into squares.
J was very eager to ‘get cooking’ and selected his first recipe.
As we went through the instructions, J said the number and the sound and Mummy read the words. This was not only good for J’s number recognition and rehearsing his phonic knowledge but also good for introducing J to following a list of instructions/recipe. This would even be a good phonic activity when teaching instructions at school for that holistic/thematic approach teachers!!
J rehearsed many skills too to develop his fine motor skills, coordination and and control. As J scooped, he was careful to only add the number of scoops the instructions said.
It also provided a nice sensory experience for J as he used his fingers to pinch and sprinkle.
I remember playing make-believe cooking as a child and it was just magical! The fact J is loving it so much and learning is just so fabulous!
He also rehearsed practical, life skills such as screwing and unscrewing lids…
… pouring with control…
… and stirring his mixtures!
As J played and used his imagination, he said the sounds as he picked up his ingredients and said things like, ‘I’m adding a splash of i.’
He also traced over the letters with his finger. This was a surprise to me! This meant he was rehearsing the shape of the letter. A lovely pre-writing skill and totally self-initiated which is by far the most powerful learning.
As well as following the recipes, J also had free cooking time where he made it however he wanted. He still gave me his commentary of what he was doing as he went. He just can’t help himself! He would literally talk ALL day and ALL night if he could! He gets it from his father!!
What did J learn?
- Following instructions/recipe
- Number recognition
- Phoneme recognition and recall
- Fine motor skills
- Pre-writing skills
- counting sprinkles, splashes, drops and dollops of ingredients as he added them