Fall is a season that awakens the senses with the smell of a crackling fire, the sight of brightly colored pumpkins, the sound of leaves crunching underfoot and the taste of apple pie. This same sensory experience awaits your child at home in the kitchen! Cooking and baking are excellent ways to use hand manipulation which offers great sensory motor benefits including bilateral skills, strengthening, following directions, attention/focus and sequencing to name just a few.
- To work their bilateral skills have your child use their dominant hand to mix while the other holds the bowl still. A rubber placemat provides good traction to help stabilize the bowl.
- Children learn about the quality of food through their eyes and hands so let them sample the food as part of the process—nibbling a slice of apple when making apple pie or feeling the texture of dough as they roll it.
- Scoop, pour, shake and stir! This strengthens your child’s hands and arms.
- Working alongside your child builds confidence and camaraderie. Let them play different roles in the kitchen: “chef” with preparing the food and then “server” with setting the table.
- Make it feel like a special occasion—set flowers on the table and save a special seat for their favorite stuffed animal! Creating a nice table setting helps them practice counting, learning left from right, and coordination with both hands as they practice folding napkins, set utensils, and stack plates.
So let the creative cooking begin and bon appétit!
Director of Fun, Co-Founder & Mother of Four
Registered Licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR/L)
Sensory Integration and Praxis Test Certified (SIPT)
Each HOOT for Kids blog represents our point of view but should not replace diagnosis and treatment from your own doctor or therapist