Cooking with kids is a great bonding exercise and helps build memories. But did you know that it can also be fun English conversation practice for kids? Cooking is a great way to help your child improve their English language skills without them realizing it.
This article focuses on ways you can help develop conversational skills in kids while cooking.
Decide on a recipe
Choose a simple recipe that has a few ingredients and doesn’t require high-tech kitchen gadgets. Also, your child should be able to understand and follow the recipe easily.
Talk about the ingredients and tools
Once you’ve decided on the recipe, talk about the ingredients and tools you’ll be using when cooking (milk, sugar, salt, bowl, spoons, flour, etc.). This will help your child build their vocabulary. As you name the ingredients and tools, make them repeat after you. Try to use sentences with adjectives. For example, instead of saying “we need a plate,” say “we need a small plate.”
Ask for help
Give one or two-step instructions to your child. For example, give clear, age-appropriate instructions, such as “Pass me the sugar!” or “Bring me a spoon, please!”
Sequentially gather everything
A recipe follows certain steps in a particular sequence. Use this opportunity to work on your child’s sequencing skills.
Ask your child to gather all the ingredients and tools sequentially according to the recipe. Encourage your child to read aloud to understand the sequence in the recipe. “First, we’re going to break the eggs in a large bowl, then add milk…..”
Ask them questions
Asking questions while cooking not only enhances their conversational skills but also improves their vocabulary skills. Ask them questions like these:
- What are we cooking today?
- What do we need for baking a cake?
- Where is the sugar?
- Why do we add baking powder?
- When can we eat this cake?
Teach them turn-taking
Whenever you stir, mix or pour your ingredients, take turns. Teaching turn-taking skills is important for them to be a good team player and participate more effectively in social activities.
ProTip: The language development doesn’t have to stop once the dish is made. Encourage your child to discuss, recall and retell the steps they followed to make the dish. Also, ask them to talk about the taste, texture, and smell of the dish. This will help them enhance their storytelling and sequencing skills.
Give your kids the gift of the life skills they’ll need before they get out of the house (and get some quality time with them while you’re doing it!)
Teach them with the easy online course Kids Cook Real Food!
They have 3 levels for ages 2-teen to learn how to cook healthy food. Your family will love learning together as you build their confidence.
Improving conversational skills through cooking
Remember, language development is not only about talking. Comprehension and listening skills are just as important! Thankfully, cooking enables your child to practice these skills and a lot more.
You don’t need any fancy recipes or high-tech kitchen gadgets to cook with your child. All you have to do is talk about what you are doing, but let it not be a monologue. Speak slowly and clearly. Ask questions and give clear age-appropriate instructions, and wait for them to respond. Let them know that you’re listening to them. For example, if your child says, “I’ll pour the milk,” repeat what they said and expand on it as, “sure, you can carefully pour the milk in the bowl.”
Samidha Raj works as part of the content marketing team at PlanetSpark, a platform that provides online classes to K8 learners on “New Age Skills” like English Communication, Public Speaking, Grammar, Creative Writing, Debating, etc. She is passionate about empowering the youth by educating parents about the importance of 21st-century skills. In her free time, you can find her watching documentaries or animated movies and organizing game nights (board games are her thing)!