Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Children learn about everyday foods and how they combine to make a meal.

Equipment Required

  • Food cards (A4 and lots of small ones for each child)
  • Shopping bag
  • Mixing bowl and wooden spoon

Link to resources

Training Video

Lets Cook-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


  •  Two to three weeks

How it works

This is a picture activity which involves pretending to make a meal from different foods to help children learn to identify some common foodstuffs. For each ‘meal’ there are 6 different ingredients. These are shown in small pictures which need to be made into individual cards (lots of copies of each food item so that each child can have 2 or 3 at one go).

What to do in the class

Choose one of the meals from the list below. Have all the children seated in a large circle. Give each child 2 or 3 small laminated pictures of the food cards that go with that meal. Put a large saucepan, or mixing bowl in the middle of the circle and explain what you are going to make and that you are going to need some nice ingredients to make your meal. Have a shopping bag which contains an example of the food which corresponds to the pictures cards you have given to the children – this could the same pictures they have but on a4, or a plastic version or even the real thing! Take out one piece of food/large picture, from your bag at a time. Ask the children who knows what it is, whether they have eaten it and if they like it. Now ask the children to check whether they have this food as you need lots of it to make our meal. If the child has the corresponding laminate they come to the centre and put it in the pot. Repeat with the other ingredients.

Meals you can ‘make’:

  • Soup – Carrots, potatoes, leeks, peas, onions, milk
  • Sandwiches – Bread, butter, chicken leg, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber
  • Salad – Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, potatoes, chicken, radish
  • Dinner – Eggs, potatoes, sausages, sweetcorn, peas, bread
  • Pudding – apple, pear, blackberries, custard, butter, sugar

Adaptation for older/younger children

Parental support will be required for younger children

What to do in a nursery setting

Each child should be given two different cards at the start of the game, then run it as described above.


The children love stirring the pot as each new ingredient is added and it is a great opportunity for the children to engage in sharing as they take their turns.

To add extra interest for items such as the Sandwiches, you could give each child a couple of square pieces of cut up yellow sponge (for bread), a plastic knife (for the butter), a cut out chicken leg, cheese, tomatoes and cucumber to put inside.

For dinner, you could give each child a paper plate and let them arrange each piece of food onto the plate as you call it out.

You could make your own version and make it seasonal – pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, mince pies at Christmas, ice-cream in summer etc.