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Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

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Write a Recipe


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Write a Recipe

Grades 3 – 5
Activity Time 30 to 45 minutes (sundaes can be made later)
Publisher International Literacy Association

What You Need

Here’s What To Do

More Ideas To Try



What You Need

  • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown (Simon & Schuster, 1975) [or an online version]

  • Paper and pencil

  • Computer with Internet access (optional)

  • Recipe Card (printed on cardstock or heavy paper) and sample recipe

  • Ice cream and sundae toppings (or ingredients for recipe of your choice)

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Here’s What To Do

Before beginning this activity, print the Recipe Card, copy it on cardstock or heavy paper, and cut it out.

1. Ask the child how reading and writing can help us do things or make things. What do we do if we aren’t sure how to fix something? How do we know how to cook a meal that we’ve never made before? See if he or she can come up with some examples of writing that help us, such as recipes, game rules, how-to guides, or instructions.


Talk about the different things that make up this kind of writing and write them down on a piece of paper:

  • A reason or purpose

  • A list of ingredients or parts

  • Steps for what to do

  • The desired result, whether it is a cake or a model car
3. Read the story Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. (This book can be borrowed from a local library, or you can access an online version.) Before you start and as you read the story, ask the child to keep a list of all the things you have just talked about: a reason, the ingredients, the steps, and the result.

4. When you are done reading, talk about the reason (to make stone soup), the ingredients (all of the things that get put in the pot), the steps (how to prepare the soup), and the result (yummy soup).

5. Suggest that you would like the child to write a recipe and that, instead of soup, you would like the child to help you make the World's Best Ice Cream Sundae. Talk about what you might call the sundae (for example, Super Sundae, Star Sundae) and fill in the name on the Recipe Card. Note: This activity provides examples for ice cream sundaes, but it can be modified for any simple recipe that works for you (for example, no-bake cookies, fruit salad, or lemonade).

6. If you feel the child might need to look at some recipes before beginning to write one, take a look at some of the recipes on the San Diego Zoo’s Recipes for Kids website or in children’s cookbooks. See also the sample recipe.

7. Ask the child to make a list of all the things that will be needed to make an ice cream sundae. This list should include both the food (chocolate ice cream, sprinkles) and nonfood items (a bowl, ice cream scoop). Working together, write the list on the Recipe Card in the space labeled Ingredients and Tools.

8. Talk about the different steps needed to make the sundae. What would you do first? Second? Be careful not to leave anything out—for example, do you need to heat the hot fudge? Slice a banana? You may want to take notes or ask the child to draw pictures to outline the different steps. Note: Make sure the child is aware of any safety issues involved in making the recipe, such as to always ask an adult for help when using the stove or a sharp knife.

9. Once you have a list of steps, talk about the best way to order them before you ask the child to write them on the Recipe Card.

10. Ask the child what he or she thinks the result will be once someone has completed all of the steps. Write a sentence that describes what the sundae will be like in the space labeled The Result.

11. Help the child gather the ingredients and tools, and work together to read and follow the steps in the recipe. See if any of the steps were left out. Talk about whether the ice cream treat lives up to its title while you both enjoy sampling your work.


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More Ideas To Try

  • Use the story structure from Stone Soup and rewrite the story so that, instead of making stone soup, the characters make the recipe the child created in this activity. Think about how the characters, setting, plot, and resolution would change to suit the new version of the story.

  • For fun facts about the history of ice cream, see National Geographic Kids: Ice Cream. You can also try this activity with other summer foods and drinks such as fruit salad or lemonade.

  • Use the online Crossword Puzzles tool to create a puzzle about ice cream that the child can share with his or her friends. Visit the Crossword Puzzles page for more information about this tool.

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A person, animal, or object represented in a story or play.



The structure of the action of a story; what happens in the story.



The ending of a story or book; the way in which the conflict is solved.



The time and place where the actions of a story happen.

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