The fragrance of apples, cinnamon and cloves drifts up from my kitchen as I write. Earlier today I turned on our crock-pot, filled to the brim with chopped apples and spices. I love the smell of apple-butter cooking almost as much as I love the taste when it’s finished. This might not seem to have much to do with communication but the aroma of holiday cooking and baking communicates plenty to me. Holiday time provides abundant opportunity to build your child’s vocabulary as he helps you shop or prepare food, count the silverware (I mean before the company comes, not after they leave!) or clean up when the meal is over.
One activity from my book, Talking Time is perfect for this time of year and I’m happy to share it with you.
If you are willing to take the time and put up with a little mess, you can make baking time a great learning experience for your child. Have him help make cookies. He can pour in the measured ingredients, mix and roll out the dough, and listen for the oven timer. Baking provides a good opportunity to talk about “wet” and “dry,” “fast” and “slow,” and “full” and “empty” as you mix and stir the ingredients; numbers by counting as you pour out the ingredients, and shapes as you cut the cookies in various shapes. Kneading the dough helps your child improve fine motor skills. You can also talk about how the cookies smell and taste.
I hope your Thanksgiving is full of good things – fun, family, friends and fabulous food. I’d better stop writing and go downstairs to stir the apple-butter.