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Cooking With Your Child Series: DIY Cinnamon Ornaments

Cooking or baking with your child addresses so many great skills to improve and enhance your child's speech and language as well as allowing them to explore different foods. The Holiday season is the perfect time to get in the kitchen and kick off our "Cooking With Your Child" Series! This month we are baking up DIY Cinnamon Ornaments for your child to make and hang on your Christmas tree.


1 cup cinnamon, plus more for rolling

3/4 cup applesauce

1 tbsp cloves

2 tbsp white glue




rolling pin

Christmas cookie cutters

- Mix all ingredients into a large bowl until the cinnamon is combined

- When dough starts to form, shape into a ball with your hands

- Once a ball is formed, sprinkle cinnamon onto surface and roll dough to 1/4 inch thick

- Using various cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Save left over dough and form into a ball again to roll

- Repeat steps until all dough is used

- Lay cinnamon shapes flay and use a straw to poke a hole at the top of your shape

- Allow shapes to dry 24-48 hours before stringing and hanging on your tree


*Verbs: there are TONS of actions that happen when cooking and/or baking. Make sure to model actions and label the various verbs you and your child do. Here are some examples: "you are mixing that perfectly", "let's roll out this dough", etc.

* Requesting: when you begin a recipe with your child, do not hand them all the tools they need to help you. Instead do what's called "withholding" and hoard all the things needed for the recipe. When you give your child a command such as "okay now mix those together" and they don't have a spoon- it forces them to have to request one from you. This withholding method can be done multiple times throughout a recipe to build those requesting skills.

* Following Directions: the most important skill any recipe addresses is following directions, right?! We all need to follow specific steps in a specific order or our recipe will not turn out the way we wanted it to. Read the recipe through with your child before beginning anything, talk about the different steps, have your child re-tell the recipe back to you in order (this assesses comprehension), and ask them 'wh' questions about the steps (i.e. "what do we need to add after the cinnamon?").

* Labeling: Another great skill if your child is too young for complete sentences and/or if their language skills are delayed. When reading through the recipe and discussing what to do, go through each item and work on object labeling/imitation. Point to objects, ask what they are, and if they don't provide an object label, provide it for them (i.e. "yes that's right, we need glue").

* Prepositions (location words): Cooking and baking also provides so many opportunities for prepositions. "Take out the applesauce", "the spoon is under the dish towel", "pour the glue in" , etc. You can also stage some of these tasks, like the spoon under the dish towel and ask where things are.

* Social Skills: Work on some early social skills like turn taking when mixing or pouring. You can also have great conversations with your child like "what is your favorite Christmas song?", " if you could be any Christmas character, who would you be?". You can also practice setting the table and manners during a meal.

Getting messy in the kitchen with your child is so so important. It not only builds great language and life skills they will use later on, but also builds a bond with you. There are so many memories to be made in the kitchen with your child this Holiday season- Happy Cooking and Merry Christmas!

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