Episode 123: Make Learning FUN – Using Cooking to Teach at School and Home

Using Cooking to Teach

Cooking is a daily activity for everyone. It is a wonderful activity to teach ALL ages and stages. Cooking is an activity families, schools, community groups – indeed anyone can do it – and it provides long term recreation and independent living skills. Through cooking you can teach all curriculum areas (see below). By providing a structured programme with goals/learning outcomes you can develop a cooking programme that addresses the learning style and needs of the individual student. One child may use the programme to learn to read while another may use it to communicate, using visuals.

10 Ways to Use Cooking to Teach

Here are some examples of how cooking can be used to teach a wide range of skills at both school and home:

Sequencing: cut up recipes and get the child to put in the correct order

Writing: write out recipe, record observations, etc.

Reading: read recipes, comprehension of instructions, etc.

Social skills: turn taking, waiting, requesting help, asking for a taste, etc.

Maths: counting, fractions, measuring, etc.

Motor skills: cutting, opening containers, stirring, etc.

Sensory:  tasting, smelling, texture of ingredients

Conversation skills: talking about foods, likes and dislikes

Categories: where items go in the kitchen – fridge, pantry, etc.

Hygiene: hand washing, cleaning dishes, etc.


From the Cookbook manual – download as a pdf HERE

Together We Cook ‘n’ Learn

Reading Number Problem solving
Writing Measurement Cooking
Listening Problem solving Safety awareness
Augmentative communication Matching Technology
Communication: expressive (speaking) and receptive (listening) Sequencing Domestic appliances
Categorising / Classification Body awareness
Social skills Motor skills Play development
Group learning Self-help / Independent living Art / Craft
Work tasks People & food Music
Community access Hygiene TECHNOLOGY
Shopping Recreational activities Domestic appliances
Safety Visuals & Augmentative communications systems
Sensory integration Digital camera

First three pages of Pikelet recipe shown below.

Check out my Photo Cookbooks for HEAPS more recipes!!

Cooking is a great way to develop communication for children who have limited verbal skills.

Here are some examples of how to provide opportunities to communicate:

  • Give container with lid on too tight. Child needs to ask for help
  • Place hands in sticky ingredients and say “yuck”
  • Count when stirring, i.e. 1,2,3
  • When turning tap on/off, say “ON/OFF”. Wait for them to indicate they want it turned on – request, point, etc.
  • Count wherever possible… pikelets in pan, honey joys, etc.
  • Look through photo recipe book with student. Discuss things they like and don’t like
  • Sing songs when cooking (e.g. “Everybody mixing”)
  • Give bowl to mix without soon. Child needs to ask for spoon
  • Give electric item with no cord. Child needs to ask for HELP
  • Wherever possible don’t anticipate their communication. Wait for them to communicate first rather than guessing their needs (e.g. hands dirty, want to wash, wait for them to look at you and indicate they want help, etc.)

For more ideas on how to develop communication skills see Practical Communication Programmes by Sue Larkey and Jo Adkins

My Cookbooks

What’s in it for me?


  • 340 photos of the key stages fo each recipe (ingredients, utensils, equipment and recipe)
  • PROVEN recipes that kids love
  • 50 full colour pages with step by step recipes
  • Easy activities to incorporate into school day/home
  • DURABLE: spiral bind, gloss art paper

Tecahing Manual

  • Over 300 skills to teach – from communication, maths, science, social skills and more (ALL curriculum areas)
  • Outlines learning outcomes from cooking
  • 6 step programme from evaluations to implementation
  • Worksheets for follow up activites
  • Heaps of time-savers and ideas

  • Both Cook Books and Teaching Manual

  • Photo Cook Book 1

  • Photo Cook Book 2

  • Cookbook 1 and Teaching Manual

  • Together We Cook ‘N’ Learn Photo CD

  • Cookbook 2 and Teaching Manual

  • Teaching Manual for Cook Books



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For all orders outside Australia please email dearne@suelarkey.com.au

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