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Cooking up new language skills

I like to use cooking activities to work on language. Children love to help in the kitchen and there is a built-in, edible reward at the end of the activity.

Summer just isn’t summer without a sweet cool treat! Ice pops are not only fun to eat, but they are also fun to make. They are easy to make and perfect for a hot summer day, or any time of year!

Here’s one of my favorite recipes for healthy yogurt pops from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver or you can try any recipe you like.

You will need:

  • 2 small ripe bananas

  • strawberries or blueberries

  • 2 cups non-fat plain yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • Blender

  • Paper cups or plastic molds

  • Popsicle sticks

So how do you make this a language-enriching activity?

First, introduce the activity by telling your child what you are going to make. Explain that you will use a recipe and make sure he/ she knows what the word "recipe" means (instructions for making a dish.)

Next, talk about the ingredients. Make sure they understand what the word ingredients means (items needed to prepare a dish.) You are introducing and teaching new vocabulary! Label each item as you place them on your table/ counter. Pairing the object with the verbal label helps to reinforce vocabulary skills.

Now it is time to get cooking!

Peel and slice your banana and put it into a food processor or blender. Place the berries, yogurt and honey in the blender along with the bananas. Blend on a low setting until really smooth. Divide the mixture between 6 paper cups or plastic molds. Add the popsicle sticks. Place the pops in the freezer for at least 3 hours, or until frozen solid. Run each mold under warm water. Gently pull each pop from mold or peel paper away. Serve immediately.

As you follow the directions, be sure to use words like FIRST, SECOND, NEXT, etc. Give short simple directions that your helper can carry out (ex: Put the banana in the blender.) Count each measurement before adding it to the blender (ex: “1 cup, 2 cups”) Count the cups/ molds before use. To add a challenge, pretend to put the ice pops in the oven/ dishwasher instead of the freezer. Use planned forgetfulness to have your child problem solve and give you the proper solution. Use a timer so that you and your helper are reminded to take the pops out of the freezer.

When you are all finished, you will have practiced following directions, position words (in, on), learned new vocabulary, and sequencing skills. Most importantly you will have a delicious frozen treat to share!

Leave a comment and tell me how your ice pops turn out! Enjoy!

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