Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Make a Children's Cookbook

This cookbook is intended to make cooking as simple as possible, for a young child to do independently. Making it yourself ensures that all the recipes meet your family's nutritional goals and you can include only foods your child likes or add new foods to try. The list of ingredients can be in picture form for a child who doesn't read yet, and knowledge of fractions is not necessary to follow the recipes! It will quickly become your child's favorite resource.

What you'll need:
simple, healthy, recipes that don't require tools your child can't use independently (can opener, vegetable peeler, etc). You can start with only a few recipes and add to the cookbook as time passes.

Plain colored measuring cups and spoons – metal or clear/white plastic.
Colored dot stickers – at least 6 different colors
A three-ring binder and three hole punch
for a very young child: camera and all ingredients OR internet photo search skills

Step 1: Attach a different color of dot sticker to the handle of each measuring tool. Don't repeat colors! Secure each one with a small square of packing tape.

Step 2: Title the recipe and, optionally, put a picture of the finished food at the top.

Step 3: List the ingredients in a column using your word processor. Indent them ½ inch. Underneath, write the directions as simply as possible – for very young children use pictures instead of typing the words, and use recipes where all the ingredients are simply mixed together so no directions are needed.

Step 4: Format it in an easy to read font (like Century Gothic) and arrange the margins to your liking. Make the left margin bigger (I used 1.5 inch) so the words don't get chopped up when you hole punch it later.

Step 5: Print the recipes. Add colored dot stickers next to each ingredient to show which measuring cup to use – this is why you indented the ingredients list earlier. If you need two cups, put two dots that match the one on the measuring cup.

Step 6: Laminate the recipes! If you don't laminate your pages they will be floppy and get dirty fast! If you don't have a laminator, you can have it done at a copy shop or teaching store. They also sell cold press laminating sheets that don't go through a machine, but I haven't ever used those so I can't say as to their quality or ease of use.

Step 7: Hole punch the recipes and load them into the binder. Add more as you discover them, and as your child gets older you can begin to use recipes with more complex directions.

Some ideas to start with:
Fruit Salad - list fruits that you usually have at home.
Egg Salad - keep hard boiled eggs ready on a low shelf.
Yogurt Parfait – plain yogurt, chopped fruit, nuts/granola or dry cereal.
Tuna Spread – tuna from a pouch, mayo or mayo substitute, and celery.
Deviled Eggs – cut hard boiled eggs in half and mix yolks with mayo or mayo substitute, then scoop back in.

Montessori Moments is a blog written for Dynamite Montessori School in Cave Creek, Arizona. If you'd like to check out our school, please visit Dynamite's website.

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