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Let’s Get Cooking!

Eating is an essential part of everyone’s life. So why not include the whole family in the cooking process?

Growing up, we would have what we called, “Try Something New Sunday” where one family member would pick something new for the family to try. It was a fun way to engage the whole family in the planning and cooking process! Plus, cooking promotes so many great skills your kiddos need to engage in their daily lives. Some skills include fine motor, visual perceptual, executive functioning, and sensory exploration.

Fine motor skills allow us to develop the strength and coordination in our hands and wrists to complete everyday tasks such as buttoning, writing, opening toothpaste, and tying shoes. Fine motor skills can be addressed in cooking by chopping, mixing, squeezing, sprinkling, spreading, and so much more!

Visual perceptual skills allow us to collect, analyze, and interpret visual information. Some visual perceptual skills include visual discrimination (similarities and differences between objects), figure ground (finding items in a busy environment), and visual memory (remembering the sequence of steps). These skills can be addressed in cooking through measuring liquid and dry foods into measuring cups and spoons, as well as, locating all items for your recipe in the kitchen.

Executive functioning skills allow our brains to plan, organize, problem-solve, and carryout actions in our daily lives. These skills can be addressed in cooking by planning a meal, organizing supplies, following and remembering the steps of a recipe, recalling supplies, and impulse control while measuring, mixing, and pouring your items so that you don’t make a mess!

Lastly, cooking is a great way to explore different textures through smell, touch, and taste. If your kiddos are nervous about trying new things, allowing them to be in the planning and cooking process can help introduce new foods and textures in a fun way! The important thing is to make cooking fun, include the whole family, and have a dance party!

Now let’s get cooking!

Kristyn Costin, OTR/L