Preparing and eating food has a special significance for many of us in the special needs community. Some of us have kids with g-tubes, food allergies, or texture and sensory issues that make meal times a little bit challenging. And then there are other families teaching their kids to prepare meals independently as a necessary life skill. Or maybe you’re a speech and language pathologist trying to teach students a lesson on sequencing or following directions. Whatever the case maybe, we have two new cooking themed Kid in Story Book Maker templates that can be enjoyed by the kiddo in your life. Both social story templates are free to download in our community library that can be accessed using the Kid in Story Book Maker app or the free Kid in Story Reader.
Y.U.M. Chefs collaborated with us to create the two new templates called Smoothie Time and Breakfast Cereal. It is a fantastic organization in San Francisco that offers cooking programs to the community using fresh and local produce. Chef Katie from Y.U.M. Chefs appears in the social stories. Check her out and our “kid in story” in the screen shots below.
Leah Brooks, Founder and Director agreed to participate in an informal Q and A about Y.U.M. Chefs. Parents, you’re going to want to read further for some tips in the kitchen with your kids from Chef Leah!
Thank you Y.U.M. Chefs! It was fun collaborating with you!
Q. What is Y.U.M. Chefs?
A. Young Urban Modern Chefs offers cooking programs for children and adults alike. Located in the Mission District of San Francisco and led by Chef Leah Brooks, Y.U.M. Chefs is a project of Open Mind, a non-profit dedicated to the development of children.
Classes range from everyday approachable recipes to DIY projects. We are committed to making cooking fun, engaging, and most of all, delicious! The recurring theme for all classes is that we use local fresh ingredients so our food is nutritious and sustainable.
Q. Can you share some tips with parents on fun ways to include kids (preschool through 2nd grade) in the kitchen?
A. Kids love mixing, measuring, and playing with dough. Some great recipes to make with kids are those that are nutritious snacks like homemade crackers, hummus, spring rolls, and smoothies. Also, have them help with the clean up! We make cleaning fun by incorporating bubbles with cleaning the counter. Get some warm soapy water and a sponge to clean surfaces, and wipe with a clean damp towel.
Q. What was the experience like creating a Y.U.M. Chef template with Kid in Story Book Maker?
A. Teaching anyone to cook, especially kids, requires a simple, step-by-step process. In this case, Chef Katie took what she does in our classes and put it into story form with matching photos. Although similar to teaching kids in a class, it was a fun change to teach kids by storytelling.
Kid in Story Book Maker makes it very easy to take your ideas and bring them to life in a story that can be shared. Our hope is that kids will use the template and try cooking at home with their families. We are excited to see more little chefs cooking through these stories!
Q. Do you offer specific programs for children with special needs?
A. Yes, in the fall of 2013 we offered a monthly cooking program for families on Friday nights focusing on healthy recipes that get the whole family involved. It was great to show parents how to help their child in the kitchen (without just doing it for them). I think that parents are sometimes surprised how capable kids are in the kitchen.
Q. What’s next for Y.U.M. Chefs? Will you be rolling out new programs this year?
A. We plan to continue our monthly Friday Family cooking night, as well as expand our summer cooking program. We have the dates up already, and I think it’s going to be the best summer program to date. We even have a session inspired by the hit show “Junior Master Chef”. Kids love a fun competition.
Q. Finally, What hopes and wishes do you want to share with kids for the New Year?
A. We hope that kids continue to have an open mind about trying new foods. When a child tries a new vegetable or cuisine, they are learning so much. Not only are they tasting new things, they are creating a more open mind which is helpful in many life situations, inside and out of the kitchen.