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Cooking With Your Kids: Fall Edition

Cooking with your Kids Children Cooking in the Kitchen Brighton Center

Fall is here, and with the holidays around the corner, that means spending more time in the kitchen with the ones we love the most: family. Cooking with your kids can be a fun and rewarding experience. It can make them feel proud and important and encourage them to make healthier choices. Here are some fun recipes and multi-sensory exploration that are a great way to help your little one in all areas of development. Take a look!

Cooking with Your Kids Recipe #1 – SMASH with Potatoes!

Cooking With Your Kids Mom Cooking with SonDevelopmental Domains Targeted

  • Cognitive skills – Problem-solving and attention are required to focus on the task at hand. Memory is needed to recall the recipe and listen to the family members’ instructions.
  • Fine motor skills – Will use their hands to peel, mash, and stir the potatoes
  • Gross motor skills – Use their arm and upper body strength to mash the potatoes
  • Language skills – Repetition of instruction, labeling the ingredients,  communicating with family members, asking questions, communicating likes and dislikes.
  • Social-emotional/adaptive skills – Building trusting relationships with adults, bonding with family members, socializing and watching others engage in tasks while learning from them, turn-taking, and self-regulation while waiting. Holding and using utensils for stirring or pouring.

Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes Recipe


  • 2 kg 4.4lbs white or red potatoes (I used Yukon gold)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary about 30 leaves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste


  1. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove.
  2. Diced the potatoes, add them to the pot, and close the lid. You may need to turn the temperature down to keep it from overflowing.
  3. When the potatoes are fork-tender, turn off the heat, strain the potatoes, and return them to the pot.
  4. Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium heat add the olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic begins to turn golden brown, add the ground black pepper, and then remove the pan from heat.
  5. Pour the contents from the pan including the oil into the pot with the potatoes, along with unsweetened almond milk and salt, and begin to mash them with a potato masher.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary

Cooking with Your Kids Recipe #2 – PLAY with Cookies!

Developmental Domains TargetedChild Enjoying Cooking

  • Cognitive skills – Problem-solving through exploration with all senses, thinking about what to add next, how to pour, measure, or place things in one’s mouth, older toddlers and preschoolers can count and sort.
  • Fine motor skills – Using raking motions and pincer grasp, roll the dough into balls then balance them onto the cookie sheet.
  • Gross motor skills – Balancing while sitting and/or standing, reaching for items out of reach, carrying materials while walking.
  • Language skills – Hearing different sounds, listening to what parent is saying and exploring new vocabulary, naming objects, listing through the recipe book and talking about the pictures, describing ingredients and materials.
  • Social-emotional/adaptive skills – Building trusting relationships with adults, bonding with family members, socializing and watching others engage in tasks while learning from them, turn-taking, self-regulation while waiting, being proud of self when accomplishing a task such as handing a parent banana, or mixing with a spoon.

3 Ingredient Banana-Oatmeal Cookies Recipe


  • 1 cup (100g) rolled oats total – ½ cup (50g) ground into flour, and ½ cup (50g) stir into the batter
  • 1 cup (240g) ripe banana, about 2 medium bananas
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, prepare a cookie sheet by either lining with parchment paper or lightly greasing it. Afterwards, set aside the cookie sheet.

  1. Add ½ cup of rolled oats to a food processor or blender and blend into a flour. You can also use oat flour if you have it.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.
  3. Scoop the batter using a large spoon and transfer to prepared cookie sheet. They won’t change shape during cooking so be sure to form into the shape you want them. You’ll end up with 8-9 cookies.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.


Cooking with Your Kids Recipe #3 – STORYTELL with Playdough!

Children with Brighton Center TeacherDevelopmental Domains Targeted

  • Cognitive skills – Playdough is an open-ended material that allows children to use their imagination and creativity to create whatever they want. This can help them develop their problem-solving skills and think creatively.
  • Fine motor skills – Work on strengthening the small muscles in their fingers and hands. This can help them with tasks such as writing, drawing, and using scissors.
  • Gross motor skills – Use their arms and upper body strength to knead the playdough.
  • Language skills – Learn new words by describing what they are making, and they can also practice their storytelling skills by creating stories with their playdough creations.
  • Social emotional/adaptive skills – Learn how to share, take turns, and work together with others while making and playing with playdough. Request for more ingredients or utensils to assist with getting their needs met in order to make the playdough.

Edible Playdough Recipe


  • 8 oz tub of whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Scoop the whipped topping into a large bowl.
  2. Carefully fold the cornstarch into the topping until it is crumbly. We used a spatula to fold it together.
  3. Drizzle the lumps of edible playdough with the olive oil.
  4. Use your hands to work the dough together until it forms a ball.

Now it’s ready for play!

Cooking with Your Kids Recipe #4 – EXPLORE with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Child Playing with Food and Making a MessIncluding your infant (below 1 year of age) in a wonderful Thanksgiving feast has its benefits in applying their 5 developmental domains.  Take aside some apples, carrots, squash, green beans, turkey, and yams.  Steam or boil then pureed them separately (alternative use pre pureed foods.) Add water to your desire when making the puree and/or mix foods if interested.  Sit the infant in a highchair and place a spoonful on the tray.  Allow the infant to explore and enjoy.

Developmental Domains Targeted

  • Cognitive skills – Explore, plan, and strategize what the puree food is and how to formulate a plan and bring forth to taste.
  • Fine motor skills – Using pincer grasp to attempt to pinch the puree as they explore different textures.
  • Gross motor skills – Grasp the pureed food with their little hands and use their arms to ring towards their mouth for the tasting.
  • Language skills Infants learn self-discovery by learning to seek attention.  Producing sounds is a sure way of getting attention.  As infant ventures into exploring the pureed food care provider can use sounds and animation to help create vocal sounds.
  • Social emotional/adaptive skills – Building bonds is a great way to increase social interaction and connections.  As the child eats, the care provider will be present as they provide guidance, skills, and love to them.

We hope that you enjoy these recipes with your family this holiday season. Remember, cooking with your kids is not only a great way to bond and spend quality time together, but it can also help them develop important life skills that will serve them well in the future. Enjoy good times and good smells from our kitchen to yours.

About Brighton

Brighton Center LogoBrighton is a non-profit organization committed to providing the educational and developmental foundation that children experiencing developmental delays or a disability in San Antonio and the surrounding area need. We know parents are natural teachers and that they know their child best. Every child is different and progresses and develops at their own pace, however, if you suspect something isn’t quite right, we can help. Click here for a Developmental Checklist and see if your 3 – 12 month old is developing on target. Brighton Center offers a FREE evaluation for your child! Schedule one today!

Happy Holidays from Team Converse/Kirby and your Brighton Early Childhood Intervention family!






Brighton Center Child and Parent Smiling

“Brighton offers families hope, caring, understanding, education and every bit of it is 100% from their hearts. Our daughter has benefited from ALL of the services that Brighton has to offer. They have become like another family to us and they will always be a part of our lives.“

MARY RUDY, Lulu's Mom