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Becca Eisenberg
BY Becca Eisenberg

One Simple Recipe, 5 Speech and Language Goals

What is something you make all the time in your kitchen? How about fruit salad? Fruit salad is simple, healthy and requires no cooking. With the summer almost here, summer fruits are delicious and nutritious. Why not take a simple recipe such as fruit salad and work on speech and language goals with it?  Here are five simple speech and language goals to work on when you are making fruit salad with your child.

1. Expanding vocabulary

Expand on vocabulary by reviewing different fruits. When first introducing a fruit, tell your child the name of the fruit. Expose your child to new fruits they may or may not be familiar with such as kiwi, papaya, mango and passion fruit. Even if your child is resistant to trying new foods, it is still fun to learn new names and explore the fruit in other ways. Teach your child the name of different kitchen tools, such as a peeler, scooper, and other utensils that you may be using.

2. Describing

Talk about the similarities and differences of the fruits. For example, a peach and nectarine taste similar but they feel different. How does a peach feel? Fuzzy! How about a nectarine? Smooth! Discuss the texture, color, shape, size, taste and look of the fruit. Play a game by having your child close their eyes and give them a whole fruit. See if they can guess what the fruit is based on touch and smell alone. Take turns and have fun!

3. Actions

Work on action words such as peel, cut, smell, taste, eat, scoop, mix, put in, take out, etc. There are so many action words that can go along with something as simple as fruit salad. While you are engaging in a particular action, label it. For example, say “I am putting the mango in the bowl” or “I am peeling the mango”. By providing models, your child will benefit and begin using the action words themselves. Give choices such as asking your child “Should I cut or peel the fruit first?”

4. Requesting

Have your child request which fruit they want to put in next. Your child can also request specific actions or sizes. For a child who is minimally verbal or nonverbal this can be a great opportunity to use a communication board. To create a communication board, use software such as Boardmaker or a visual engine such as ConnectAbility.

5. Recalling information

Help your child recall information and sequence steps to making a fruit salad. Discuss what you did first, next and then last. If might be helpful to take some pictures while you make a fruit salad. I love the app canplan. It is a free app that you can easily upload photographs in order to help a child or a young adult follow steps in a specific task such as recipe.

When you are eating the fruit salad together, read some picture books that encourage healthy eating. To get more ideas on getting your child to eat a more varied diet and for picture book recommendations on healthy food, click here.

Becca Eisenberg

Written on June 12, 2014 by:

Becca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist, author, instructor, and parent of two young children, who began her blog www.gravitybread.com to create a resource for parents to help make mealtime an enriched learning experience. She discusses the benefits of reading to young children during mealtime, shares recipes with language tips and carryover activities, reviews children’s books for typical children and those with special needs as well as educational apps. She has worked for many years with both children and adults with developmental disabilities in a variety of settings including schools, day habilitation programs, home care and clinics. She can be reached at [email protected]
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