Pre-Cooking Skills: Teaching Children with Special Needs to Cook

Pre-Cooking Skills: Teaching Children with Special Needs to Cook


Practicing cutting using Play-Doh. Teach them
not to touch the blade, to use another implement to move the items around and not have their
fingers close to the blade. Practicing straining with marbles. To work on straining without
using boiling water, one activity would be to use some marbles and water along with a
colander. Practicing with a cold oven. You can practice carrying a tray before you use
a hot tray from the oven by just putting some objects on top of a cookie sheet and having
your students walk around the room. Practice having them put them in the oven and take
them back out. It’s more important that the students can match the numbers with the measurements,
like this one that is asking for 3/4 cup water, than actually understanding. They can have
a lot more independence, especially with their measuring skills, if they can match. So one
activity that I would work on is using flashcards, just to identify the word cup and match it
to a cup, and then also match the symbol. In this example, they have to know that they
need a spoon here, versus a cup. You can practice measuring with dry ingredients, like macaroni,
dried beans. Ask the students to get a quarter cup of macaroni or a half cup of macaroni
in the dry measure. They can identify the cup that they need. Practice making warm water.
Have your students practice making warm water from the faucet by identifying which is hot
and which is cold. Teach them the visual cues that the faucets have, in various settings,
like H and C or red and blue. And then have them practice mixing the water. If you’re
using the Your Special Chef recipes, your students will need to be able to work from
left to right. This is also helpful for reading skills. You could offer them a visual cue
if this is difficult for them, by having a green circle to the left followed by an arrow,
and a red circle to the right. You can have the students go on a treasure hunt to find
the items that they’ll need for cooking. They can match them to the pictures. You can ask
the students to find items based on where they should be kept. For example, of course
milk should be kept in the refrigerator and so should eggs. You can ask them to go to
the cabinet and locate items that are kept in that area, such as peanut butter and flour,
and gathering the items is working on a pre-cooking skill.

3 thoughts on “Pre-Cooking Skills: Teaching Children with Special Needs to Cook”

  1. Do you have any suggestions for students with low motor skills? I find the egg cracker (As seen on tv – style) to be great for those with CP, as well as the slapchop. I'm looking for more innovative ideas for independent living.

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