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A25 - Cooking, language and culture

30 minutes - if it works well with your child, take as long as you want and repeat as often as you wish

Age recommendation
0-6; 6-10

Key words
writing, cooking, word recognition, content and language integrated learning CLIL*

Languages of the original source
English. But this activity can be used in any language

Materials needed
food, cooking utensils, paper

Aim of the activity

The aims of this activity are to learn words and expressions related to cooking and
food but also to learn about culture connected to cooking.
Another important aim of the activity is that the child has a, complete language and cultural experience, where many senses are activated; touching, listening, seeing, smelling, tasting…

Preparation for the activity

None – the activities are designed to inspire within the everyday activities in the
family languages.


Start to plan a dinner, with the children, in your family languages. Parents and children can write the menu together. Then prepare a shopping list, do the shopping and cook together with the children talking with the children about all the activities, all in one language.

The learning aspect is automatically integrated in the act of cooking and the conversations between children and parent, in the naming of products and cooking equipment and in the work. At the same time the language dimension is deeply involved not only with the products and utensils, which the child uses and prepares but also with experiences that involve the senses (touching, smelling, tasting, listening, seeing) as the simultaneous learning process of cooking takes place. Language is embedded in and a part of a multi-sensation experience, which is ideal when it comes to remembering what the children have learnt.

Tip | The activity can be incorporated in everyday life and everyday cooking. Also the activity can be connected to the activity “Shopping lists - writing in the family language” (see A24) to establish a complete chain of activities related to food. Beginning with writing the shopping list, following a recipe, preparation of the ingredients and finishing with enjoying a meal together. You could then write to the family (card, email, tweet…) about the activity.

Significant benefit of the activity

Cooking is a wonderful and creative way to bring the child into contact with the
family language and culture. It provides an opportunity to learn vocabulary and
grammar and use, connected to ingredients and kitchen utensils in a playfully and
practical way. (Tomasello 2003)

Source of the activity

Multilingual Families Project
Idea and inspiration:
Multilingualliving.com. Learning a Second Language with Dad – 10 Minutes at a
Tomasello M., 2003, Constructing a language. A usage-based theory of language acquisition, Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Tip | Find in the blog Multilingual living some more tips to support children learning another language, 10 minutes at a time.