Bon Appetit, Let’s Eat! 

Banana Bread & Language Therapy

Language therapy often takes place in a structured environment, but language therapy can truly happen anywhere, at any time! Daily tasks of home life are great opportunities to build language with your child. Cooking is a great way to build language and have some fun together. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I enjoy teletherapy sessions which allow me to do fun cooking projects with some of my clients. We can target so many language goals through the joy of cooking together while in our own kitchens!

A recent cooking experience of making banana bread was enjoyable by mom, daughter and therapist. Here is how you can replicate.

Session One, preparation:

Let the client read both the ingredients list and directions. Reading before you start the project allows you to plan and organize together. A grocery list of needed items can then be prepared prior to a trip to the grocery store.

Taking a trip to the grocery store opens up many opportunities to target language skills such as: building vocabulary (listing the items needed), practicing spatial concepts (on, in, above, below, on top, on the bottom), following directions (go to aisle 3 and find the ….), noticing the organization of foods (where they can be found and how they are grouped), discussing categories (which foods are grouped together and why), even labeling jobs that people perform in a grocery store (cashier, stocker, clerk) and practicing conversational skills by engaging in small talk with the cashier.

Session Two, get to cooking:

You are ready to prepare for and make the banana bread, our selected recipe for this session. First, start by gathering everything needed for making the banana bread such as: ingredients and tools (mixer, utensils, measuring cups/spoons). Then, measure out the ingredients and set them aside as they are prepared, so they are ready when they are needed. This is a great opportunity to address math skills with measuring! When the preparations are complete, you are ready to follow the directions to combine the ingredients and make the banana bread.

Directions can be written out on index cards for the client to follow in easy steps. Sequence words (first, next, then, last) can be modeled and used to describe each step in the process. Language goals to address might include: following multi-step directions, problem-solving, and prediction. You can even talk about the differences between wet ingredients and dry ingredients. As you complete each step of the directions, you move closer to the finished product…yum!

When all steps have been completed, you can target decision-making: Which pan should you use: muffin pan, mini loaf pan or large loaf pan, what additional fun optional items should we add to the mix: chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, or raisins, and how long will it take to bake considering the size of the pan.

Additionally, you can memorialize our experience by taking pictures to use later to make a little book to retell what you did. You can practice using past tense verbs as we retell the steps involved (mixed, stirred, added, mashed). The ideas are endless!

Once the banana bread is baked, all can enjoy tasting the fruits of your labor. Bon Appetit!

Photo courtesy of istock photos                                                                                                        

About the Author: Shannon Hays, MEd, CCC-SLP