For so many of the kids on my caseload it is all about motivation. If they want to participate in something we can work on their goals. If they don't want to participate, no adult is going to get them to do it. Period. Six year olds with no reasoning skills can be very strong willed.
So I frequently find myself taking advantage of events and situations to manipulate them into ways to work on their goals.
One of my friends' bdays is tomorrow so out came the cake mix, eggs, oil, and cooking supplies. Some kids could count the eggs, some could learn about measurement, some could read directions, all while working on our social goals of following directions, working together, and keeping our hands to ourselves. (Let me tell you... when your friend has the spatula that YOU WANT keeping your hands to yourself is pretty hard... great time to practice using our words and not our tiny fists.)
I love cooking with kids. I love watching them break the eggs, hesitating at first and then giving it a big smack that leaves pieces of broken shell in their hands as yoke oozes out from both sides. I love the frantic mixing, the wide-eyed stares as the 1/4 cup of water slowly pours into the bowl, the careful measuring of the oil.
After we had sent our cake to the oven one of my friends looked at me and said, "We tell office we bake cake." Sure! We can go brag about our cooking! (Meeting the goal of telling personal recounts and practicing vocabulary). So we told anyone who happened to be in our path that we'd been cooking. This from a child who spends most of his time with his hoody pulled up over his head.
Tomorrow we'll ice the cake, then maybe do some writing about how we baked it. Maybe a thank you card for the cafeteria for letting us use the oven. Maybe some math lessons on how many pieces we can cut it into. Hmmm....
Thank goodness for birthdays. Let's see... we'll have to find more reasons to bake in the future. Here's to anything that motivates!