I am a mom who has a special needs kiddo. The other day we decided to make cookies. I had all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and was busy measuring the liquid ingredients. My son turned the mixer on high! You can imagine what happened! He had the biggest smile on his face as he said, “Look – it’s snowing!” What can I say, it provided me with an opportunity to deep clean the kitchen.
I want my son to gain as many life skills as possible, but I thought to myself, “What does that look like?”
My teenage son wanted to “help” me in the kitchen. Fractions did not make sense to him, so I had another idea. I noticed that my measuring cups and spoons were all different colors. So, one day, I described the recipe steps in a different way: 3 purple cups of sugar. 2 green spoonful’s of oil. Then I started writing recipes in a picture format that matched the measuring tools. His excitement grew. And so, did the idea of The Color-Coded Chef. Now, instead of asking, “What are we having for dinner?” he asks, “What we are cooking together?”
The Color-Coded Chef Kit provides you with plenty of learning opportunities. Each recipe’s first page is a checklist of ingredients for the recipe. This is a great list to use before you start cooking -- it can be used as a grocery store list. When you are ready to make a recipe, you can use this same list to assemble all your ingredients and supplies. We’ve laminated the recipe pages, so you can use a dry-erase pen to check off items, wipe clean, and reuse again.
Throughout the process, there are plenty of life skills that your child can practice (and perfect!). For example, have your child use a vegetable brush to scrub the dirt off potatoes, squash, oranges and apples. And when you start off cooking together, baby steps are best. Begin by having your child do two steps, then you do two steps. Practice setting the table for dinner or clearing it of the dirty dishes after you’ve eaten. Practice loading or unloading the dishwasher. Of course, you don’t want to bombard them with too many tasks at once but choose new or different ones to focus on each week. Every task helps them practice the life skills needed to gain more independence.
The best part of the entire cooking process? Once a recipe is done, you are ready to taste what you’ve made together. When you gather around the table to eat, don’t forget to praise them! This is when you’ll really see their self-esteem and confidence grow.
What is included in The Color-Coded Chef Kit? There are measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a liquid measuring cup – all color consistent with the recipes. The starter kit includes 15 recipes, all laminated and tucked into a 2” binder that includes a dry erase pen. Other tools included? An extra-long spatula, kitchen cutter (great for cutting pizza dough, fudge, hard-boiled eggs – but you will not cut yourself!), non-skid cutting board, and a dishwasher-safe food prep mat.
The kit also includes a flyer about the 7 therapy opportunities and 13 teaching opportunities that you as a parent can work on and reinforce with your child. I will explore these opportunities in depth in future blog posts.
I am truly excited to help my child be less dependent on others when it comes to him making choices about food. I look forward to sharing more tips and tricks with you – along with stories of my own adventures in cooking with my son.
For more information about The Color-Coded Chef, visit www.thecolorcodedchef.com