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Learning language through baking

There are so many language skills your child can learn through baking together whilst having fun at the same time.

hands with oven gloves holding hot pot

1. Teach new words

Your child will have the opportunity to learn new words whilst you are baking. Remember to teach different types of words:

  • object words (nouns) – start with easier ones like spoon, bowl, pan, egg, sugar, butter, through to harder words like sieve, rolling pin, baking sheet
  • action words (verbs) – start with easier ones like eat, cook, cut, mix, through to harder ones like melt, pour, whisk
  • describing words (concepts or adjectives) – wet, dry, hot, cold, sticky, sweet, delicious, yukky, runny, frothy, smooth.

Whilst you are baking together, comment on what you are doing. Use single words only if you know the words are new to your child. Say the new words lots of times, and see if your child repeats you, if you pause and leave space for your child to talk.

2. Use the easy recipe card

This will help your child’s understanding and encourage independence. Use this card where you can read the words but your child can follow the instructions by using the pictures. They might want to show some independence by following the pictures themselves. They may struggle to understand and follow instructions, so seeing them written in picture form will help them to know what to do. You can point to the pictures as you are reading and saying the words to support their understanding.

Recipe for buns

Recipe for cookies

3. Use the baking communication mat

Build sentences and recall of events as you talk together whilst you are baking, point to the symbols to create some simple sentences to comment on what you are doing. This will help your child to learn new words and to put sentences together in the correct order. You can use it again after you have done your baking to talk about what you did – you make up a sentence, then encourage your child to make one up. Support your child in saying a few sentences together about what he did – you are starting to tell a story ( or narrative). This is a good skill for your child to learn to help them at school with their writing.

Baking Sentence Maker Communication Mat

Baking Shape Coding Communication Mat

3. Sequencing and Narrative

Take photos of your child at a few stages as you bake, for example, getting out ingredients, mixing the ingredients, putting it in a tin, putting it in the oven, taking it out, and eating it. Use the photos and the baking communication mat to talk about what you did. Tell the story of the day you made a cake. If you can print off your photos, then you can use them many times to do sequencing work:

  • muddle up the order of the photos
  • see if your child can put them back in the correct order
  • talk about what happened in each one – first, then, next, last

4. Language for Maths

If your child is in early years, use baking to practice counting, for example, counting eggs, counting how many spoons of sugar you need, counting how many buns you made.

If your child is in key stage 1,  talk about ‘one more’ or ‘one less’ as you spoon ingredients into the mixture. Use the language of quantity and size – big, little, long, short, bigger than, smaller than, more than, less than.

If your child is in key stage 2, talk about units of measurement, for example, grams, kilograms on the scales, millilitres, litres on the jug. Talk about time, tell the time and work out how long it will be until the baking is ready. Watch the clock together and practice telling the time until the cake comes out. Help your child with doubling or halving the quantities to make more or less.

Celebrate your baking success:

  • Record the event with a photo.
  • Praise your child for their achievements, for the way they helped you clear up, the end result (even if its not perfect).
  • Use it as a chance to tell them how good they are and make them feel proud of themselves.

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service at Flockton House on 0114 226 2333.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SL239

Resource Type: Article

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