Expressive Language

Hands on Learning: How Chocolate Chip Cookies Can Improve Your Preschooler’s Expressive Language

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If you’ve ever done traditional speech therapy exercises with your child, you know how boring they can get sometimes.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t say that, but…it’s true more times than not. The bigger problem with standard speech therapy exercises, however, is they just don’t seem to connect with your child’s life: they feel like school homework.

This hands on learning game is a speech therapy exercise in disguise: it’s great for improving your child’s expressive language, and your child will have fun too – guaranteed!

This is how the game works: you’ll bake a fun recipe with your child, taking pictures of the steps along the way. While your child is busy eating the products of her creation, she will sequence the pictures in the order they happened, telling you briefly about each picture.

My three little ones (ages 6, 4 ½, and 3 ½) did this hands on learning activity in less than hour. Because it was a relevant, recent experience full of a lot of meaning, even the child with the most serious language issues was able to briefly explain each picture.

Materials

-your favorite child friendly recipe

How to Play

1) Lay out the ingredients you will use for your recipe in one spot. Take a picture.

2) Start making the recipe, taking pictures at key points. For example, we made chocolate cookies. So I took pictures when we mixed in an ingredient, when we stirred, when we actually shaped the cookies, when the unbaked cookies were waiting to be put in the oven, on a plate after being baked, and – while the kids ate and enjoyed them!

That’s a lot of steps, which would normally be too hard for your child to sequence. But with a little help from siblings or myself, every child was able to say what each picture represented and sequence the pictures in the order that they took place.

TIP: If you have a child that can read already, you can write down what the child says on a sentence strip, one strip for each picture. Your child can then read the strip, and then find the picture that matches it.

If your child has trouble sequencing or is very young, print out two copies of each picture. Then tape all of them together sequentially in one long strip. Now your child can simply match his individual pictures to the ones on the strip.
 
 

 

 

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2 Comments
  • Rachel Sep 15,2011 at 12:27 pm

    That’s even better. I’m always in favor of making less work for parents! We have enough to do already.
    Do you have a favorite children’s cookbook you’d recommend?

  • Emily Sep 15,2011 at 11:20 am

    Great idea – therapy always works much better if it’s related to REAL LIFE! We also use a phocopied page out of children’s cookbooks to provide sequencing pictures – many of them have step by step photos (as well as text, if your child can read).
    Cheers
    Emily

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