Cooking with your little one who is visually impaired can bring wonderful joy and provide many opportunities to build a wide variety of life skills!
Cooking involves all five senses – touch, smell, taste, hearing, and sight – providing a variety of multi-sensory learning experiences for even our littlest ones.
With each step in every recipe, we provide sensory suggestions for parents to engage with their child. To read important kitchen tips and strategies click HERE.
Calling All Cooks!
Do you have a favorite, family-friendly recipe that we could publish in our next cookbook? From appetizers to entrees to desserts, all ideas are welcome, as long as they’re simple and tasty. We will create the sensory instructions and give you credit for the recipe. Click HERE to submit your recipe. Thanks!
Banana Pudding in a Bag
This recipe combines the classic, kid-friendly flavors of bananas, applesauce, and vanilla yogurt all mashed up in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Technically, it’s not pudding but the consistency is very similar. Finely chopped granola adds just a bit of texture but the longer you leave the pudding to chill in the refrigerator, the softer the granola will get. Click HERE for the recipe.
Cinnamon Apple Cake
With only five ingredients, this cake is easy to make, and it smells like cinnamon and apples. It’s delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dusting of powdered sugar. Click HERE for the recipe.
Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
Homemade cinnamon applesauce ornaments are an easy holiday craft for the whole family. They’re perfect for hanging throughout the house, on the holiday tree, or attaching to a present – and your house will smell like the holidays! Click HERE for the recipe.
One of A Shared Vision’s teachers started making this recipe with her daughter when she was four years old. Now their family has it every Thanksgiving.
Even though using a hot stovetop to cook the cranberries requires adult supervision, this is an opportunity to talk about kitchen safety with your child. Explain what you’re doing so your child doesn’t miss out on any steps in the process. “The saucepan with the cranberries goes on the stovetop.” “I turned the stove on - it needs to be hot to cook the cranberries.” “I’m stirring the berries so they don’t burn!” “Let’s listen to the cranberries pop!”
Enjoy this sauce with your Thanksgiving turkey. Stir leftover cranberry sauce into a fruit smoothie, yogurt, or pancake batter. Or put a dollop on your cheese and cracker, a turkey sandwich, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Click HERE for the recipe.
Five Delicious Dips
What’s not to love about a dip? They check so many boxes on our families’ and teachers’ lists. First, dips are so sensory. They come in many kid-pleasing flavors, their textures are smooth and creamy, their smells just hint at their ingredients, and they inspire dipping, finger painting, and finger licking, which are all good tactile skills for a child with a visual impairment. They’re healthy, too, because these dips are made with protein- and calcium-packed yogurt, and just a few other ingredients. Click HERE for the recipe.
In the classic fairy tale a baker makes a gingerbread man, who jumps out of the oven and runs right out the door. Well, this sensory recipe makes these cookies also come alive with all the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of baking this holiday treat. You can even talk about the gingerbread man’s body parts as you decorate the cookies with frosting or candy. Click HERE for the recipe.
Hot Cocoa Mix
This hot cocoa recipe is super simple and fun, with only three ingredients. After making this mix, you can enjoy many hot and yummy mugs of hot chocolate around the fireplace, or after you’ve built a snowman in the freezing cold. Store leftover hot cocoa mix in an airtight container for up to three months. Small jars of this mix make sweet gifts for your favorite friends, relatives, and teachers!
Stay warm and cozy this winter! Click HERE for the recipe.
Make Your Own Pizza
What’s not to like about pizza? You can top it with anything. Kids love it. And it’s an easy recipe to make at home with your child who is visually impaired. Making pizza together also provides tons of sensory opportunities and helps build small motor skills.
This recipe makes four individual pizzas. Buon appetito! Click HERE for the recipe.
Mini Jam Heart Pies
These adorable pies will warm little hearts and hands! The rolling, patting, and crimping will help your child build fine motor skills. The recipe is super easy because it only requires two ingredients! Click HERE for the recipe.
Pancakes Sensory Recipe
Sometimes it’s hard to introduce new flavors or textures to very young children with sensitive palates. But who doesn’t love pancakes? We love them because their soft, sweet, pillowy texture appeals to picky eaters, and you can even eat them with your hands. Pancakes are easy to make because you’ll likely have all the ingredients on hand, and they’re great any time of the day. Pancakes for dinner? Yes, please! Click HERE for the recipe.
Let’s have fun during snack time! In this activity you and your child will make pudding and learn a charming rhyme to go with it. Making this recipe together supports your child in learning independent living skills (especially feeding), introduces measurement and counting, and provides a multitude of sensory experiences. Pudding’s texture is smooth and comforting. Best of all, the recipe only requires two ingredients! Click HERE for the recipe.
Pumpkin Fluff Dip
By their very nature, dips are sensory because dunking a cookie, chip, or finger in and out of a dip is tactile and the smell and taste engage your other senses. This Pumpkin Fluff is perfect for dipping cookies, graham crackers, or fruit. Dip fingers into it or use it like finger paint on a plate or tray. A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, the flavor appeals to picky eaters, and as the recipe’s title suggests, the texture is fluffy.
Happy dipping! Click HERE for the recipe.
Pumpkin Pie Play Dough
We like this recipe because it’s easy to make, it’s a fun sensory experience, and it’s non-toxic, so if your child wants to eat it, it isn’t harmful. Your kitchen will smell fantastic! The secret – it’s flavored with pumpkin pie spice. Double the recipe so siblings can also join in the fun!
When you’re done playing, put the dough in an airtight bag in the refrigerator. It will keep for two to three days. When you play with it again, you might need to add a very small amount of water to it. Click HERE for the recipe.
Our Rainbow Smoothie is a healthy snack for children with a visual impairment. The smooth texture is appealing to picky eaters. It can be sucked or sipped. You can dab a little on your child’s tray so they can experience it with all their senses.
Narrating the process of making the smoothie – from the trip to the grocery store to your kitchen where you assemble and blend the ingredients – gives a child who’s blind or visually impaired access to information about everyday routines. Click HERE for the recipe.
We like this recipe because you don’t have to chill the cookie dough before you cut out the shapes. Who wants to wait for the dough to chill when you can enjoy freshly baked cookies right away?
This recipe makes about four dozen cookies. You can freeze baked cookies for up to six months. Let cookies cool completely, stack them with parchment paper in between each layer of cookies and store the cookies in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Lay the cookies out to thaw completely before icing them.
You can also freeze raw cookie dough for up to six months if you don’t want to make a whole batch. Wrap the cookie dough tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag to freeze. Let the dough defrost in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out and cutting the dough into shapes to bake. Click HERE for the recipe.
Instead of rolling dough and cutting out heart-shaped cookies, try these strawberry-flavored cookies made with just three ingredients! The secret to this recipe is a strawberry cake mix, which you combine with vegetable oil and two eggs. While the cookies are baking, your kitchen will smell like strawberries. The cookies turn out soft, puffy, and very pink! Click HERE for the recipe.
Any way you make it, what’s not to like about trail mix? It’s an easy, healthy snack when you’re on the road or on a trail.
With a variety of ingredients, there’s something sweet or salty, chewy or crunchy, for everyone in the family. When you do this activity with your child who’s visually impaired, mixing the ingredients is fun, sensory play and encourages exploration with hands and feet. And the measuring, scooping, pouring, and stirring are great for developing tactile skills and developing important concepts. Click HERE for the recipe.
Valentine's Day Play Dough
Hands down – rolling, patting, and shaping play dough is one of our favorite ways to build tactile skills, and it’s a fun sensory experience for the whole family. This recipe from Hannah Rinaldi’s blog “Eat, Drink and Save Money” is easy to make and nontoxic. Best of all, for some children, the red color and glitter make the dough easier to see on various surfaces. Click HERE for the recipe.
Christmas Tree Bread Sensory Recipe
One of our teachers makes this recipe every Christmas as an appetizer for her holiday party. Her daughter who is visually impaired helps her roll the dough and stuff each one with cheese.
We also like how there’s so much easy math in this recipe. You can count the balls as you are rolling them. “One, two, three, let’s make a tree!” With older siblings, talk about how eight cheese sticks become 32 pieces and how to form the perfect Christmas tree shape with 32 balls of dough. Click HERE for the recipe.