Hi. Mommybites readers! What a winter it has been and I’m sure you are all looking for different activities to get you and your family out of the house! In honor of the 4th Kids Food Festival on March 1st and 2nd in Bryant Park to fight against childhood obesity, this month we would like to share our favorite cooking classes for kiddos in NYC. Healthy eating is not only beneficial for your body’s growth and development, but it positively affects academic performance.
We enjoy cooking and absolutely LOVE incorporating cooking activities in our sessions. Some our favorites include making s’mores, vegetable soup, spaghetti squash, salad, cookies, muffins, and hot chocolate! While doing so, we teach children about making healthy choices in life and allow them to have a positive interaction with fresh food. Children are essentially learning skills they can use for the rest of their lives. Our goal is for children to associate nutritional cooking with fun and become more responsible and independent members of their households!
Yes, cooking is fun, but more importantly from our perspective, it is a perfect opportunity to promote speech and language! Skills that you can target include: labeling items in the kitchen, (e.g., sink, paper towel, oven, etc.) labeling ingredients, learning new action words, (e.g., mix, open, roll, etc.) commenting, (e.g., hot/cold, sweet/salty, etc.) following directions, and sequencing steps. It is always a great idea to take pictures while you cook to give your kids a chance to recall and sequence what they did later on.
If you feel that your child is a “fussy eater” who has limited variety in her diet, this is a perfect opportunity to involve her. The more she takes part in making what she is having for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the greater the chances are that she will eat what is served! So feel free to experiment in your home and try new recipes by introducing new tastes, temperatures, textures, and colors! If you want to try getting your little ones involved in cooking outside of your home, there are some great cooking spots in NYC – check out some of our favorites below…
Freshmade – Using lots of bright colors and flavors, this amazing program offers classes for toddlers through teens! They include: Brunch-N-Munch, Lunch Express, Kids Dinner Club, Family Dinner, Pallete-Palate, ‘Round the World, and Junior Chefs. All classes meet once per week, which is great for consistency. It lets your child build relationships with other children and socialize. Not only are your children learning to cook healthily with fresh, seasonal vegetables but also they are working on their fine-motor, math, science, and literacy via a hands-on experience. www.freshmadenyc.com
Tastebuds Kitchen – Super fun, themed classes are offered through these chefs ranging from St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Pizzas to President’s Day Red, White, and Blue Cupcakes. They also do birthday parties, after-school programs, and summer camps (also one in the Hamptons!). If you are a new parent or caregiver there is even a class about preparing first foods and purees. This allows you to introduce new textures and flavors to your infant and in turn makes your life stress-free. The best way to encourage a large variety of food in your child’s diet is for them to explore using all 5 of her senses! http://tastebudskitchen.com/
The Creative Kitchen – It’s in the name. This place truly encourages imagination! They not only incorporate nutrition, but art, math, language, reading, geography, and history as well. The Creative Kitchen also does parties and play dates in your home and at other venues. They have even come up with a customized classroom curriculum called “Everybody Can Cook”, which consists of 15 delicious recipes that will be used by teachers. This will definitely be a perfect way to promote teamwork, confidence, self-esteem, communication skills, and sharing within schools. Check out their awesome blog too! http://www.thecreativekitchen.com/
Chef Toni’s Cooking Adventures – Chef Toni’s does it all from classes and parties to holiday and summer camps. She even has weekend classes on Saturdays. One of our favorite upcoming classes is their April Fool’s Day Cook & Play! She focuses on farm-to-table cooking and teaches lessons ranging from basic nutritional facts to kitchen safety to task completion. Classes are offered for ages 2-16. Chef Toni recently moved to an even bigger and more amazing space, so happy cooking to everyone during your culinary adventure! http://cheftoniscookingadventures.com/
Chef Elena Tedeschi – If you would prefer a personal chef to give you and your children private lessons, we know the chef for you! Her name is Elena Tedeschi and she is originally from Milan, Italy. She is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in NYC. She also holds a BA in Psychology from UNC – Chapel Hill and became a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) in 2008. She has worked for over 10 years as an in-home ABA therapist and family trainer. Elena currently works as a personal chef, leads private cooking classes, and caters private events. She applies her experience as an ABA therapist to incorporate language development, independent living skills, and social skills into her cooking classes! She also has extensive knowledge in alternative ingredients for children and adults with major food allergies (e.g., gluten, wheat, nuts, dairy, and soy). She even provides pantry consultations and makeovers – what more can you ask for!
[email protected] 919-357-4223
Alpin Rezvani, M.A., CCC-SLP, graduated from New York University with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (ASHA) and has New York licensure in Speech-Language Pathology. She was a speech-language pathologist for the New York Department of Education and was an adjunct instructor at New York University. She co-authored three chapters in “Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism” and is PROMPT trained. She is a co-founder of Gift of Gab Resources and has been in private practice since 2008.
Debbie Shiwbalak, M.A., CCC-SLP, is an undergraduate of St. John’s University where she received her Baccalaureate of Arts in Speech Pathology in 1999, and is a graduate of Long Island University-CW Post Campus, where she received a Master of Arts in Speech Pathology in 2001. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed by the state of New York to practice speech-language pathology. Debbie is PROMPT trained and has had 13 years experience as a speech pathologist in the New York City area and has been in private practice for 7 years. She co-authored one chapter in “Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism” and is PROMPT trained. She is also the co-founder of Gift of Gab Resources.
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