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Cook the book-early childhood reading

Updated on July 12, 2016
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Cook and Read

Young children cook
Young children cook | Source
Safety in the kitchen
Safety in the kitchen
Read and create a recipe
Read and create a recipe
Choose colorful ingredients for children's recipes
Choose colorful ingredients for children's recipes

Cooking and Early Reading Activities

Teachers are always looking for ideas to correlate books that are read in the classroom, either during a storytime session, or books that are read for a specific purpose. Combining books with a cooking activity can add interest in reading the book. There are hundreds of books for all ages that can be correlated with a creative recipe. Even if there is no available stove, teachers can create a recipe to use with a book in the classroom. There are many recipes that can be used to make finger foods that do not require a stove. Many classrooms have microwave ovens that can be used if cooking with heat is required.

Choosing books that lend themselves to creating a recipe can be fun and challenging. The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle can inspire a creative recipe. The following recipe was created for use with this book:

Use your imagination to create a rebus for the ladybug jello recipe. A rebus consists of words, pictures of the ingredients, and numbers to designate the amounts of ingredients. Using the rebus when preparing the recipe will encourage children to relate a practical activity to reading.

Children will soon want to learn to create other recipes to extend interest in favorite books. Reading and cooking make great partners in early literacy. Pictures are a child's first tool for learning to read. Young children use the pictures in a book to tell what is happening in the story without knowing what the text says. A rebus recipe that combines pictures with words is similar to using pictures in a book in that the rebus pictures tell a child what cooking tools are used, the ingredients in the recipe, and how much of each ingredient is used. The words that are combined with the pictures enable the child to learn the concept that the printed letters create words and words tell about the pictures. Another benefit of partnering a favorite children's book with cooking is that of fostering creativity in young children. Children will often find an idea in a story that lends itself to creating a food dish. "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" might spark an interest in making cookies. There is a wealth of favorite children's books that can be used to create a food dish.


  1. Prepare strawberry or cherry jello according to package directions in a large oval foil pan for ladybug body. You may also use individual foil dishes if you are preparing individual ladybugs.
  2. Drop raisins into jello before it hardens.
  3. Place long licorice sticks into jello ladybug after jello has hardened. If you are making individual ladybugs, cut licorice sticks into smaller antennae to fit individual ladybugs.


  • 1-2 boxes strawberry or cherry jello
  • 1 box raisins, for ladybug spots
  • 1 package licorice sticks, long or short

Ladybug Jello

5 stars from 1 rating of Jello recipe

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: Serves 15 if preparing large ladybug

Healthy snack or dessert

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2-3 spoons of jello
Calories 25
Calories from Fat0
% Daily Value *
Fat 0 g
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Safety tips for cooking with kids

Teachers in an early childhood classroom are often reluctant to include a cooking activity in the curriculum because of safety issues. Parents are also often reluctant to allow children to cook because of safety issues. Learning comes from doing and there are safety tips that can be incorporated into a cooking activity to keep children safe in the kitchen. Children should be given child-sized kitchen tools. There are child-sized cooking tools available now that are inexpensive and easy to find. The cooking area should be clean and there should be enough room for children to put all of the tools and ingredients in one area. Child-sized tables in an early childhood classroom make it easy for children to place all ingredients and tools on one table. Kitchen counters in a home kitchen often require the use of a stool in order for children to reach the counter. You can ensure the safety of children by using a sturdy stool that will not tip over easily. Sharp kitchen tools are not easily used by children and guidance is a safety tip that should be used when using a sharp kitchen tool. Young children can even use popsicle sticks for cutting ingredients. Make safety in the kitchen a priority in order to ensure that children enjoy the experience.

Cooking in an early childhood classroom

Do you include a cooking activity in your early childhood curriculum?

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Garden fresh ingredients to spark children's interest

Children enjoy garden fresh ingredients
Children enjoy garden fresh ingredients


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    • profile image

      Warren 6 years ago

      What a great idea!

    • theprintcenter profile image

      theprintcenter 6 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      =) .. Really great hub! Loved reading this one. Voted up!