Language goals in the Kitchen: Holiday cookies

With the holidays approaching, one custom that many families share in is making cookies. But as you are making delicious treats for your family and friends, you can also expand language skills!

Following directions

Target: Spatial concepts, or positional words, including: on top, over, under, up, down, bottom, in, out, in front, behind, beside, and between.

How to: After you roll out the dough, you can talk to and direct your child where to put the cookie cutters. For example, put the candy cane over the Christmas tree or Move that gingerbread man up. When putting sprinkles, icing, and candies on for decoration, you can continue to give these directions, or have the child direct you. For example have your child tell you where to put the candies on the cookie (up, over, under, etc.)

Target: Temporal concepts which include: first, then, next, last, before, after etc.

How to: As you make the cookie dough, explain to the child the order in which the ingredients will go into the bowl. Ask the child to help. For example, first put in the flour before you put in the sugar or mix together the wet ingredients before you add the flour.

Categories

Target: Add items to categories

How to: Talk about the items that belong into a category

Examples:

  1. Desserts
  2. Colors (while using sprinkles)
  3. Christmas decorations
  4. Things that are cold
  5. Different types of measurements (cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, etc)

Compare/Contrast

Target: Talk about how things are alike and different

How to: Try and see if your child can help you name one thing that makes two items the same, and one thing that makes them different. If one is too easy, increase the complexity by having them name two things that make them the same/different.

Items:

  1. Sugar/flour
  2. Spoon/fork
  3. Cookies/pie
  4. Measuring cup/ruler
  5. Oven/microwave

These are just a few ideas to get you started! Have fun with it, and enjoy a cookie together when you are done.

-Amanda Cox, M.S. CCC-SLP

**If you have any concerns with your child’s speech, language, and/or feeding development, please contact Deborah L. Curlee Communication Consultants at (865) 693-5622. We have a team of experienced speech-language pathologists that would love to meet with you and discuss options for your child. **

A Parent’s Guide to Expanding Language Part 2: Meal Time

Here is the second edition of this three-part segment. If you missed Part 1, you can find it HERE. 

Meal Time

Meal time is another great part of the day to offer chances for developing your child’s language. Again, incorporate those “Wh” questions! Discuss object functions, compare and contrast, make predictions!

  • What do we use to eat soup?
  • What do we use to cut food?
  • How is a spoon and fork different?
  • What do we drink out of?
  • Where do we put our dirty dishes?
  • Why do we use a napkin?

Many steps are used when preparing or cleaning up after dinner. Talk about them! Have your child help prepare the meal and have them tell the other family members what they did! This is also great for following simple and multi-step directions.

  • Tell me the steps for setting the table.
  • Tell me the steps for making a sundae/sandwich/muffin.
  • What did you add to the bowl AFTER the eggs?
  • What did we mix FIRST?
  • Add the sugar, THEN stir it together.
  • BEFORE you turn the mixer on, add the flour.

Describe your food! Talk about the categories: is it a fruit, a veggie, a meat? What does it look like? What does it taste like: sweet/sour/salty? What does it feel like? Compare and contrast. There are so many words you can teach with food!

  • Ice cream is a dessert. It is cold. It is sweet. It has many flavors. My favorite is chocolate.
  • A strawberry is a red fruit. It has seeds. They are smaller than a watermelon.
  • The ketchup is red, but the mustard is yellow. They are both condiments.

More interesting verbs are also a big part of meal time. Acting out the action is a perfect way to provide a visual definition for a new word.

  • whisk, stir, mix
  • pinch, layer, melt
  • dip, spread, taste
  • fry, bake, grill
  • Chop, cut, slice

When everyone is sitting in their place at the table, it presents a great visual to teach possessives as well.

  • Whose napkin is this? It is Daddy’s
  • Whose plate is this? It is mine.
  • This is my
  • This is his/her/your

Part three will include two more settings: bath time and ANYTIME. In the meantime, one of the best strategies for expanding language is modeling. It may feel weird to talk about everything you are doing, but narrating out loud is a wonderful way to model for your child how to incorporate more words into their expressive language. 

-Shannon Greenlee M.A., CCC-SLP

**If you have any concerns with your child’s speech, language, and/or feeding development, please contact Deborah L. Curlee Communication Consultants at (865) 693-5622. We have a team of experienced speech-language pathologists that would love to meet with you and discuss options for your child. **