Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Let's Eat Our Way to Literacy (2)

In Let's Eat Our Way to Literacy (1), I suggested we capitalize on two things that go together really well: food and literacy. I gave you some ideas for starting your own family cookbook, and somehow got caught up in the idea of making a Book Chook Cook Book. Read all about it at this post, and send your recipes soon! 

Literacy activities related to food don't need to be as big a project as a Family Cookbook. You might just encourage your son to list his favourite foods, or see if your daughter would like to create a small personal cookbook of her favourite recipes. Another writing activity is to describe your least favourite food, or what foods a pet monster might eat. When kids are small, if you have time, write out some simple recipes using words and pictures or diagrams, and have them help you cook.

A note in the lunchbox is a nice way to involve your child in a bite-sized bit of reading. It might be a joke to tickle his funny bone, or a reminder that he has soccer practice after school. Perhaps your kids might like to take on some responsibility for the shopping list - or if that's a bit radical, for part of the list? (Why not go all MeanMum, and make them responsible for the vegetables!)

One fun activity that involves kids in making choices and creative thinking is to design a box, a wrapper or an advertisement for something yummy. Find a box template, discuss how advertising works and decorate your box in an enticing way. To follow up, if your children seem interested in advertising, you might introduce them to Admongo, an online game where they will learn about how ads work.

You could research and read about solar cookers, and either build one or invent your own.

Kaboose has some great ideas about cooking with kids (no, kids aren't the main ingredient!) including videos about making food fun.

Here's a mad lib called Let's Bake Together, and one called Dinner Shopping

Just for fun, here's a point and click toy I found at Amanita Design where kids can explore a pantry. 

Food Fun activities at the University of Illinois Extension.(Thanks Susan!)

I found some videos online that have a food theme. Here's a fun one I just loved where some people in a food court in LA start improvising a musical in front of unsuspecting patrons and here's a video revealing the secrets of a food makeup artist that might spark some discussion in your family.

Another great idea is to link books and food by having a book-themed party. PBS has book-themed parties with invitations etc. Or you could create your own. For instance, kids love pirate parties. You could read pirate books like The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate or The Castaway Pirates, play games like walk the plank and pin the parrot on the pirate, follow a treasure map to find chocolate coins, and of course eat pirate themed food. 

I know your kids will have plenty of ideas for party food, but challenge them to think of a book tie-in, and you'll know you've sneaked a little bit of literacy, and a whole lot of fun into their lives.

(Cartoon made by Book Chook at ToonDoo)


  1. Kelly - Be A Fun Mum27 May, 2010

    If you need any more recipes, let me know. I've got a great little collection of easy recipes I use all the time.

  2. Book Chook28 May, 2010

    Kelly, thank you so much. We don't have many recipes yet, so I might need to ask you for more. I will put up another reminder next week and see if I can prod people's memories.

  3. Paula (Belgium)28 May, 2010

    My daughter gets hungry when she read about food. She comes up with very odd requests for ancient food, exotic food (like in Nim's Island), or Asian food (which is easy to get by going to a sushi bar). I never thought the other way, letting her design a cookbook. I am going to discuss this with her. Many thanks.

  4. Book Chook29 May, 2010

    Please let us know how if she runs with the idea, Paula.


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