I love having blind kids in the kitchen! Tommy has done a lot of cooking with me in the kitchen over the years. He usually just steps in for part of the process. I try to include him in cooking items he likes to eat so that he understand more about the food he eats. It’s an everyday type of learning that can get overlooked, yet is really important to know.
You can see Tommy enjoying the first thing he made from start to finish – cinnamon toast! He was quite proud of himself. I think it’s good to show kids how foods change when they are cooked. Toast is a good example and so is pasta. Tom was very familiar with pasta because it was always in sensory bins he used in OT and it’s one of his favorite foods.
We made dough this weekend for christmas cookies and Tommy helped me mix ingredients and got to smell all the spices. He loved smelling the cinnamon and vanilla extract. We baked the cookies a couple days later and he got to help rolling the balls of dough in sugar. It was another good example of how cooking changes food; from a little ball of dough to a flat cookie! And it’s even better when your lesson involves eating tasty cookies.
- Cookies (it’s like pre-braille work I swear! finger isolation!)
- Bread (even a simple beer bread mix)
- PB&J sandwich
Naturally we don’t have time to get Tommy in the kitchen every night, but weekends are a great time to slow down and do a fun and yummy activity together. Eating has been a long learning experience for Tommy and we have always had to start with the basic and work our way up. Doing simple food chores in the kitchen has been a good way to get him engaged with food and to explore foods he might not be interested in.
I tend to split baking up into a two part event, especially when we are baking for the holidays and making a lot of cookies. Limiting the time we spend on an activity helps with keeping Tommy engaged and it save me from having a hurting back. A lot of cooking can be rough on your back!
At school they make treats like pudding and trail mixes based on the season. One year they made a very cute bunny trail mix that came home with a braille tag on it. I’ve seen “reindeer food” mix recipes that kids can make and leave out for Santa’s reindeer to enjoy. It would also be cute to give as a gift to friends or hand out at school. If I had thought of it earlier, I probably would have done that for his classroom! Maybe next year.
Here’s an outdoor reindeer food mix recipe (for the reindeer and outdoor critters.) Of you can make this Reindeer chow for Rudolph and his friends (and you) to snack on when they stop at your house. Why should Santa get all the snacks?
Last night when I told Tommy that I wanted him to help me bake he said he didn’t want to burn his hands. I was surprised to hear him say that, but I like that he recognizes that you have to be careful in the kitchen. I just told him that I had a special job for him – rolling the dough in sugar! I told him I’d put the cookies in the oven and he wouldn’t have to be near it.
I’m glad he told me what he was worried about so we could work around it. Sometimes Tom is reluctant to participate in activities and I think it is sometimes due to uncertainties or worries like that. It is great that he is getting better at verbalizing his concerns.
Have fun getting your blind kids in the kitchen!