Cooking in the classroom

Involve your kids in cooking for a wonderful multi-sensory experience!

We recently spent a morning exploring different types of fruit.  With that fruit, we created a delicious rainbow fruit salad.  What we learned is that cooking in the classroom is about so much more than just measuring, slicing, and pouring.  It can be a multi-sensory experience…

Introduce a Story

To begin our morning, we read a delightful story called “End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad.”  It is a simple book that explores both colors and numbers, as well as many different types of fruit.  Be sure to stick around because tomorrow we will be giving away a copy of this book!

After reading our book, we passed around a few of the fruits that were mentioned in the book…

Engage the Senses

We passed around a pineapple, grapes, bananas, strawberries, and a papaya:  all fruits that were about to be used in our fruit salad.  While we passed the fruit around, we talked about using all of our senses to examine the fruit.  What color is the papaya?  How does that prickly pineapple feel on your fingers?  What do those strawberries smell like?  Of course, we would see what it tastes like later.  It was, not only an invitation to explore the fruit, but an opportunity to build language skills…

Passing our fruit around the circle was also an opportunity to work on sharing and turn taking.  After sharing around our circle, it was time to turn all that beautiful fruit into fruit salad…

Promote Self-help Skills

We moved to our larger tables and each child had the opportunity to wash and cut the fruit we just explored.  Some of our fruit required big knives, which only Mrs. Stewart and Mr. Hayden were allowed to use.  The children were given plastic knives to cut the fruit into smaller, bite-sized pieces….

If you’ve ever attempted cooking with a large group of children, you will understand that it can be quite a daunting task but it isn’t one you should shy away from.  Our children always love the opportunity to create their own snack.  They are more eager to try a new food, when they have helped create it themselves…

Encourage Collaboration

Working side by side with other children to achieve a common goal requires cooperation and sometimes patience, while waiting for a turn…

Explore New Foods

Cooking in the classroom also allows children to explore foods in a completely new way.  None of our children had ever eaten a papaya, let alone had the opportunity to cut it open and scoop out its slimy seeds…

When all of our fruit was cut, we had a very colorful and delicious rainbow fruit salad.  The children had pride in knowing that they helped to prepare this yummy snack…

By |2018-12-27T10:57:10+00:00November 13th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Diane November 13, 2013 at 7:37 am - Reply

    I was wondering when your children arrive at school, do you have free choice time or a circle time where you explain what are the happenings for the day?
    Thanks. Love the fruit salad idea with book.

    • Courtney Floyd November 13, 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

      Hi, Diane! We have our first circle time when the children arrive at school in the morning. This typically consists of our morning greeting, story, and some sort of game or activity that relates to the book we read. After our circle time, we take a brief tour of the classroom to explain to the children what is available at each center for the day. While nearly all of the activities that we offer are open-ended, we find that the children will stay engaged at a center longer when they better understand the activity.

      • Diane November 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        Thanks so much Courtney!
        I agree with all you say!

  2. maria November 13, 2013 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    crazy about all your ideas thank you.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 14, 2013 at 12:04 am - Reply

      Thank you Maria! 🙂

  3. Brenda November 13, 2013 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    lettuce knives- awesome for cooking even with the smallest of 3 year olds. We have cut carrots, turnips, tomatillos, etc. They are wide but plastic with a bumpy rather than sharp edge. Really work- kiddos feel powerful.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 14, 2013 at 12:04 am - Reply

      I’m not sure I know what Lettuce Knives are Brenda! Will have to look it up!

  4. Denise November 15, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Awesome! Just looking at how you did the activity makes me want to do it on my own. I am sure the kids loved this activity because they are able to know some fruits, its shapes and color, in a fun way. Keep it up!

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