Thematic Unit on Cooking

Unit on Cooking

Words: pot, spoon, bowl, pan, refrigerator (no links–use the real thing!)

Goals: To recognize key terms by sight. To know that cooking takes place in the kitchen.


Baking sugar cookies. I bought one of those pre-packaged kits, so all I had to do was add an egg and some butter. If you’re going to do shaped cookies like we did you need a tablespoon of flour as well, which they put in teeny letters at the bottom. I did all the mixing while Charlie looked on, I helped him with two cookies and then finished myself. He seemed to like it and even tried the cookies, which is rare since he’s not a sweets fan.

sugar-cookies-for-web Making Popsicles. Juice, popsicle kit from Target. Pretty simple. Again, I worked in front of Charlie. He liked the popsicle, but hasn’t really grasped the concept of the cold headache, which hit him when he refused to take it out of his mouth. posicles-for-web

Baking Pizzas. I did the tomato sauce on sandwich thins in front of him. We helped him add cheese. After all these activities, he’s starting to get the hang of that type of thing. Told him about the over and heat. He loved the pizza, but I knew he would!


Jell-O shapes. I messed this up pretty bad—you’re supposed to do two packages of Jell-O if you’re making molds, but I just did the regular thing and then tried to cut shapes out of it. That didn’t work very well. Charlie found Jell-O disgusting in every possible way—gross texture and sweet. He kind of melted down at the end.


Tossing a Salad. Helped him mix up the salad. Sadly, I have no good pictures because holding his hand and holding the bowl involved two adults. I do have this picture of him smiling as he tries to dump salad everywhere. He’s fun like that.


Book We Enjoyed

I checked out a lot of books, but none of them were really appropriate—all were too mature. Of these, my favorite was A Cow, a Bee, a Cookie, and Me by Meredith Hooper. Like I said, too mature for a toddler, but a great story about the origin of many common ingredients like eggs, honey, etc.

cow bee

Please share any recommendation you have for cooking books—especially for toddlers!

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  1. I usually regret any cooking escapades I embark on with my kids.

    Have I ever mentioned how much I love Charlie's stink eye? Like the one in the picture with the popsicle? LOVE IT.

    G used to give good stink eye when he was that age. Wise beyond his months I used to say.

  2. Hey. Needed this distraction. I LOVE your ideas and those photos, especially Charlie doing the face plant in the cookie dough. Gotta try that myself sometime.

    We have a Sesame Street kid's cookbook called "C Is For Cooking" that has a lot of cute stuff in it. I am also trying to encourage to learn how to cook stuff from The Art of French Cooking, given that I myself do not like to cook. That is going kind of slowly, but who knows, one of these day Sbrina and Max just might be whipping beef bourguignon.

  3. Great job at keeping it to his age. I have to kind of halve things between my two year old and three year old.

  4. TherExtras says:

    You are a teacher/Mama after my own heart, Katy.

  5. GingerB says:

    Katy, I think you are amazing. Your work with Charlie is really inspiring. I always think hey, I could do a unit with my girls and then I feel pretty successful if I have chased the baby around making a stab at therapy related goals and let Claire watch Wonder Pets before I find myself half an hour late for jammies, yet again. I keep meaning to try teaching the little rugrats. I want to be more like you.

  6. twoboyzzz says:

    Great unit idea Katy! I have a few cooking books but could only find one, Wonderplay, Too! by Fretta Reitzes & Beth Teitelman for ages 3-6. It has cooking, music, games, art and dance activities. Both boys have enjoyed some of the activities!

    Cj can not stand to texture of jello either. He makes the same face as Charlie!

  7. You are amazing.

  8. Thanks for sharing these units. I love your ideas and will use some of them with my 22-month-old! Well, if I ever get a spare minute to put the materials together… but you've inspired me to at least try to make the time!

  9. Kreekle says:

    I love the picture of him trying Jello. That face is classic!

  10. Candace says:

    Katy we must be on the same wavelength! I have been thinking about some kitchen activities to do with Faith and some to help her learn about temperature…(Dr. Boucher's blog idea!) I think the cookie thing would go over well. I liked how you told about you doing some of the steps for him b/c sometimes I worry if Faith is getting things if I do them for her (things she can't do herself).

  11. Nadine Hightower says:

    He was so not liking the Jello. I feel the same way. ICK!!

  12. The Empress says:

    Finally decided to visit you, after seeing you comment along side mine at Ellen's place.

    Lovely to meet you!

  13. Anonymous says:

    "In the Night Kitchen"

    One of my all time favourites as a kid! Same author/illustrator as "Where the Wild Things Are". I can't really remember the story – a little boy falls into some cookie dough or something – it is a sort of dream sequence.

    The illustrations are what I most fondly remember – beautiful doughy shapes.