Kids in the Kitchen: What Skills Can They Learn?

Get your kids in the kitchen and watch them grow!



It’s time to get your kids in the kitchen!

Young children love to copy what other people are doing. They gain great pleasure out of helping their parents wash the car, tidy up or even put the shopping away. A positive way to put this curiosity to good use and satisfy their inquisitive minds is by teaching them a new language whilst performing theses activities.

Get your kids in the kitchen and they can bake cakes, make pasta or play with pastry dough while you feed their mind with new words.

By having fun getting messy in the kitchen, they won’t actually realise they are being taught a new language.

Learning a language often means learning by rote and repetition, as words and phrases need to be repeated to be remembered. But repetition does not have to be boring. Making the experience fun helps to keep young learners curious and keen to carry on.

[bctt tweet=”Repetition need not be boring! Make it fun and watch them learn #languagelearning” username=”cooklanguage”]


Children are sponges. They are easily excitable. When they are excited and interested in something they absorb more. They learn without realising.

No matter what age your child is, they can have fun learning languages through cooking or simply playing with food.

Children use all of their senses while cooking. By helping them learn to cook and to know about food, you help them to be more comfortable with different foods and can even make them healthier eaters.

Pressuring young children to eat vegetables at the dinner table is known to be counterproductive – it actually increases resistance to healthy foods.

Download FREE materials and great gifts …

In a nutshell, kids like what they know and they eat what they like. So, making food and cooking fun has many benefits.


In addition to using food and cooking for learning languages, you can use them to help with:

  • Improving motor skills in younger children: start with soft foods that they can add/mix/grate/cut with plastic scissors or child-friendly knives …
  • Mathematical skills: from number recognition, basic sums, to learning weights and measures,
  • Reading and comprehension: encourage your child to read the recipe to you, ask them questions that spark their imagination eg. How do they think the food will look? Taste? smell?
  • Telling the time and measuring time
  • Boosting vocabulary: ingredients, using descriptive words to describe how food looks, smells and sounds while it’s cooking,


Children, of all ages, have fun while using all five senses which is why cooking is so entertaining. First, they’ll be using their eyes to find ingredients and read the recipe. Then they will be touching the food as they chop it or mix it. After that comes the sound of the cooking as the food sizzles, bubbles or makes a popping noise. This gives off the lovely smells which help to get the mouth watering as they finally get to taste their delicious dishes.


As well as new words, you can introduce some simple maths while you cook. Your children can weigh out ingredients on the scales or use measurements such as litres and grams. If rolling out pastry or pasta, they’ll need a ruler to measure the length too. They’ll be learning to tell the time as they stir the pot for two minutes or bake a cake for 40 minutes, for example.


Then there are the words they will use. It’s not just learning about ingredients but they will be boosting their vocabulary with new verbs such as basting, boiling, rolling or roasting; and adding adjectives like bitter, sweet, delicious, juicy, salty, smooth or lumpy. You can encourage them to communicate by asking them how the food feels or to describe how it tastes.

By getting children involved in the cooking process, it’s a sneaky way to get them to try new things. If they’ve cooked it, they’ll want to try it so think about introducing different ingredients or spices as you go along. Hopefully, this will encourage them to be more experimental with flavours. Most children go through a fussy eating stage but getting them to help prepare the family meals can be one way to get them to taste new foods. They’ll feel proud and excited at helping and should be more likely to eat something they’ve helped to make, especially if you say how yummy it looks.

To sum up, children can learn new words, a new language, simple maths, the time and communication skills by helping prepare a meal. Bearing that in mind, we think cooking with children is a fun way to teach while you also get a little helper in the kitchen. Now, we just have to persuade them that washing up is a great game to play too!

kids in the kitchen


Try these simple activities, in your target language, for starters…

(These ideas can be adapted to whatever language you are introducing.)

  1. Using your fruit bowl …
  • Can you name the fruits in your bowl?
  • What colour are they?
  • How many are there?
  • What do they smell like?
  • What do they feel like?
  1. Open your cutlery drawer …
  • Can you name each utensil?
  • How many are there of each item?
  • What is each item used for?
  1. Create stickies (and if you are artistic, add drawings too) of  Kitchen items …
  • E.g. fridge, freezer, sink, cupboard, drawer, tea towel, dishcloth …


4. Play the “hot/cold” game  …

  • The idea is that your child has to guess which word (in the target languages) is the correct name for the items in your kitchen. As they get closer to the item, you say “hotter” (in your target language) and as the move further away you say “colder” (in your target language)

Learning a language through cooking

     5. Use out Activity Cookbook

  • If your target language is Spanish or English, choose one of the recipes from our Activity Cookbook and work together with your child.
  • Before you start cooking:
  • Look at the ingredients, practice the words together (listen to the audio on our website for help)
  • Make a shopping list together, for the required ingredients
  • Visit the supermarket and purchase the ingredients, with your child, repeating the words and quantities as shown in our book
  • When you are ready to cook:
  • Tell your child (in the target language) what they need to get ready, item by item (using the book for reference)
  • From the fridge, we need …..
  • From the cupboard, we need …
  • Follow the instructions, step by step and make the simple and scrummy recipes.
  • Practice phrases and expressions to say what you love, like, don’t like …


There are so many ways how children learn a language in the kitchen, these are just a few simple ideas. We have many more to share with you!


Introducing Arthur Apple’s Pancake Challenge! Designed to get Kids in the Kitchen and Learning New Languages!





We have a simple and scrummy recipe to share with you. It is really easy to follow.

This is one of the recipes in our Activity Cookbook that we funded thanks to YOU  on Crowdfunder.


125gr plain flour

1 egg

250ml milk


Your favourite fillings:  sugar, lemon, Nutella, fresh fruit, honey…


How to make the pancakes …

  • Sieve the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
  • Make a hole in the centre of the flour and add the egg and some milk.
  • Whisk all the ingredients together until you have a smooth liquid.
  • Add the remaining milk and whisk again.

How to cook the pancakes…

  • Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan.
  • Remove the excess oil before adding the pancake mix.
  • Add a large spoon of mix to the frying pan and spread it over the base (the easiest way is to rotate the frying pan slowly).
  • As the pancake sets, loosen it with a spatula and flip over (use a plate if you are not confident flipping).


arthur-pancake-challengeArthur’s Perfect Pancake Tips:

  1. For skinny French style pancakes, make sure your mixture is nice and add lots of the milk
  2. For fatter American style pancakes, use less milk to make a thicker mixture.
  3. BEFORE entering the Pancake Challenge, experiment with the mixture to get your best pancake.
  4. Loosen the pancake with a spatula before flipping.
  5. HAVE FUN!!!!


How Do You Enter Arthur Apple’s Pancake Challenge?


  • Once you have perfected the art of making simple and scrummy pancakes, you need to practice flipping them.
  • For the challenge, you can flip your pancakes wherever you like … in the kitchen, in your garden, on the beach, in the snow … let your imagination run wild!
  • When you are ready, ask somebody to video you flipping your pancake, as many times as you can.
  • At the start of your video, tell us your name, age and where you are from.
  • Count out loud, in whatever language you can speak, whilst flipping your pancakes.
  • Post your video to our Cooking with Languages Facebook Page (Pop over to the page and see the wonderful video Bodhi and Himani sent to us!)

What other ideas do you have for using food and cooking for introducing new languages?

We’d love to share your ideas on our Facebook page and here on our website.


Why Learning A Language Through Cooking Is A Recipe For Success

There are many reasons why learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success …

Learning a language through cooking

Cooking is very fashionable at the moment with millions glued to the television to watch shows like MasterChef, The Great British Bake Off and Hell’s Kitchen with the straight-talking Gordon Ramsay. Celebrity chefs are also making waves in the kitchen with the effervescent Jamie Oliver changing the way we view food and the lovable Hairy Bikers making great dishes with local produce. So it makes perfect sense to use this tremendous interest in food to help people learn a new language. They can do something they enjoy while learning new words in a fun and creative way.


It is something that all ages can try – from tiny tots helping to make cakes or biscuits through to older people who fancy cooking something different while practising a new language, such as Spanish. You can join classes or go it alone through books or apps. For instance, if you’re learning Spanish you could find a recipe in the original language for a traditional dish like paella, gazpacho or rabo de toro (oxtail stew) and follow it. You will learn a lot of vocabulary such as ingredients, verbs and different verb tenses.

[bctt tweet=” Learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success! #bilingualbooks ” username=”cooklanguage”]

Learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success on so many different levels. The most important being that you get to cook and taste a gorgeous meal, so that’s an incentive in itself.  It also uses all five senses:

Learning a language through cooking

Sight: Reading the recipe, looking at all the gorgeous ingredients and watching your food take shape

Smell: Wonderful aromas of individual ingredients plus those sensational cooking smells as you prepare your food

Sound: The noise of food as you chop and cook whether it is sizzling in a pan or gently bubbling away.

Touch: The different shape and texture of your food – kneading dough, or getting stuck into making cakes or pasta.  

Taste: The best bit! Trying your food as you go along and then sharing your finished dish with family or friends.

Download FREE materials and great gifts …


Learning languages through cooking has so many advantages.

First of all, reading through the recipe, looking up words you don’t understand and trying to commit them all to memory. Then, not only are you reading new articles, but you are understanding what you are reading. If you are a newbie in the kitchen, it might mean you find out what blanching, clarifying, deglazing or searing mean. It’s a crafty way of making sure you understand what you have just read because you can’t wing it when you’re cooking. If you don’t know your meuniere from your marinate, you could be in trouble!

For younger people following a recipe helps you to follow instructions. You need to go through the recipe step by step so your food turns out as it should. Obviously, this is another useful tool to master because there are so many situations in life when you have to follow the rules.

Finally, you should be having fun while you learn. You’re adding to your vocabulary, increasing understanding while learning more about the culture and history behind the language through gastronomy.

If that isn’t enough to get you cooking up a storm in the kitchen while learning a new language, Newcastle University also uses this method of learning. French language students have been taught through cooking. They have instructions on the computer to guide them along with motion sensor technology integrated into the cooking utensils and other equipment which are linked to the computer so it can be clearly seen if the student is understanding the instructions properly.

Learning a language through cooking

We firmly believe the best way to learn something is by doing it for yourself. By cooking and learning about foods, you will learn more about a country while those new words sink in.


Help us to bring the love of food and cooking into more households and classrooms!

Learning a language through cooking

Non-Translatable Words and Language Learning

“How do you say “la huerta” in English?

No lo se.

You don’t know?

No. ¿No sabes tú?

No. I don’t know either.

Entonces, ven conmigo. Vamos a la huerta.

Good idea! Let’s go to La Huerta”

Non Translatable Words

Our bilingual book … Coming soon!


This is an extract from a book that I am currently writing. It is a book that I am really excited about.

With our Cooking With Languages family project, not only are we helping children to learn languages, we will also be encouraging to learn about growing their own food and cooking it too.

Today, I want to give you a gentle reminder that, when learning a language, you do not need to try to learn and translate everything you hear or read. Aim for general comprehension and the rest will follow over time.

Admittedly, some expressions can easily be translated word for word and then reproduced in the target language, but it is often not the case. If you get into the habit of asking your children what every word means, you may inadvertently lead them to believe that this is important.


Klaus kartoffel


For example, a classic word for word translation in German:

Mein name ist Klaus = My name is Klaus.



olivier l'oignon
However, a classic basic phrase in French, that is not as it literally translates:


Qu’est-ce que c’est? = What is is that it is? = What’s that?



When we are learning a language, we can gain ground by learning the meanings of expressions and phrases rather than breaking them down and translating them as individual words.

[bctt tweet=”Is La Huerta a non-translatable word? Or, is it simply a word with several translations?”]

Remember this when you are teaching your children. Encourage them to understand expressions and phrases as well as individual words.

Oh, and if you want to know what “la huerta” is, simply click here to … Keep updated with exciting developments and new ideas!

Raise the Odds of Success in Raising Bilingual Children

Today, we’d like to share a great post about raising bilingual children, by Adam Beck.

Adam Beck is the founder of the popular blog Bilingual Monkeys and the lively forum The Bilingual Zoo. Adam has worked with hundreds of bilingual and multilingual children, from toddlers to teens, as both a classroom teacher and a private tutor. He now lends support to many more families, in all parts of the world, via his book, blog, and forum. He has lived in Hiroshima, Japan since 1996 and is raising two bilingual children in Japanese and English.

Adam and his two monkeys earlier in their bilingual journey.

Adam and his two monkeys earlier in their bilingual journey.

Think of it this way: Raising a child to be bilingual is about odds and each family’s odds of success will be higher or lower depending on their particular circumstances and how proactive they are about shaping these conditions in effective ways.

My experience as a teacher at Hiroshima International School demonstrates that the odds of a Japanese child successfully becoming bilingual are extremely high when that child acquires Japanese from the family and community, and English from the school environment. Of course, the degree of that ability in English will depend on such variables as the age at which the child enters the school and how long that attendance lasts. Still, I think it’s safe to say that, generally speaking, strong bilingual success for children who are exposed to the majority language at home and the minority language at school is virtually assured.

A different scenario

Many families, though, face a very different scenario, with circumstances that inherently make the challenge of fostering active ability in the minority language far more difficult. In other words, such circumstances, instead of working in the family’s favor—as in the example above—work against their success.

Let me quickly remind you of the basic circumstances of my own situation, which will provide a concrete example of a scenario where the inherent odds of success are rather low: I’m the minority language parent, yet not the main caregiver; my kids have always gone to majority language schools; my partner doesn’t speak the minority language well; the minority language isn’t used much in our environment; and we don’t often travel.

The truth is, if I had done little to overcome these odds, and put them more in my favor from early on, the results would likely have been quite different. But because I recognized this dilemma, and was willing to pursue every reasonable effort I could within the bounds of these basic conditions in order to raise the odds of success, the outcome has matched my aim. If it had seemed that these efforts weren’t sufficient to reach this goal, I would have had to either address the basic conditions themselves, such as pursuing some form of schooling for them in the minority language, or scale back my ambitions to an appropriate extent to avoid disappointment and frustration.

Raising your odds

So it’s vital to look squarely at your circumstances—if possible, before your bilingual journey begins—and assess your odds: Are they generally favorable or unfavorable? If the odds seem stacked against you, you must be as proactive as possible in order to shift those odds more firmly in your favor. The greatest impact, of course, often results from reshaping the basic circumstances themselves in certain contextual ways: your spouse begins using the minority language, too; you enroll your child in a minority language school; you travel more to a minority language location; etc.

But if such larger changes aren’t feasible, the responsibility for raising the odds of success will fall solely on your daily efforts. Amid the challenging conditions of your situation, you must remain as energetic and resourceful as possible, day by day, in order to provide your children with ample language exposure and a need to actively use the language. By doing so, you can overcome the lower odds inherent to your circumstances and recast them more in your favor.

When it comes to raising a bilingual child, the more your circumstances seem to bring down the odds of success, the more proactive you’ll need to be to create better odds of achieving your aim.

maximize your childs bilingual ability

Note: This post is an excerpt from the new book by Adam Beck, Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids, available worldwide as a paperback or e-book.

Un Método Sencillo y Genial para Enseñar el Verbo “To Like” en Inglés

Cómo enseñar el Verbo “To Like” en Inglés

El verbo to like en inglés, (gustar), en presente, es fácil de aprender y enseñar a los más pequeños.

Vamos a ver el verbo “to like” en algunas sencillas formas…

Para empezar, vamos a hacer que los niños hablen sobre ellos mismos y sobre lo que les gusta. Para aquellos niños que tienen el español como idioma nativo, es importante que no cambien el formato del verbo basándonos en el objeto, como hacemos en español.

¡Vamos a practicar algunas expresiones!

I like / I don’t like / I love …

Descarga nuestras tarjetas “Like/Don’t Like/ Love” AQUÍ

Una vez hayas demostrado y repetido las frases a aprender, haz que los niños compartan con el resto de la clase lo que les gusta, lo que no les gusta y lo que les encanta (like, don’t like, love) usando las geniales tarjetas.

Asegúrate de usar una buena mezcla de objetos en singular y plural.

Un ejemplo, usando las imagenes de más arriba sería:

A: Do you like eggs? (¿Te gustan los huevos?)

B: Yes. I like eggs. (Sí. Me gustan los huevos)

A: Do you like butter? (¿Te gusta la mantequilla?)

B: No. I don’t like butter. (No. No me gusta la mantequilla)

A: Do you like cheese? (¿Te gusta el queso?)

B: I love cheese! (¡Me encanta el queso!)

En cuanto estés satisfecho con los niños respondiendo las preguntas correctamente, pídeles que pregunten a sus compañeros lo que les gusta, lo que no les gusta y lo que les encanta (like, don’t like, love).

Puedes usar nuestras Tarjetas de Comida o referirte a objetos a tu alrededor, en la clase, para variar las opciones.

Las respuestas de los compañeros de clase dará lugar a otra lección, en la cual hablaremos en tercera persona (he/she/likes…)

Las siguientes páginas son parte de nuestro Libro de Recetas Bilingue que ha sido publicado recientemente y que está disponible en Amazon (Clica aquí para Ver Dentro)

LEER nuestros simples y geniales métodos de enseñar el verbo GUSTAR

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