Sequencing is the cognitive process or putting things in order; typically a chronological order. It’s used in language to communicate about an event, eg what led up to an action, the action itself, and what followed. It’s used in motor skills to accomplish a task by breaking it down into its base elements and doing them in order. Adaptively, it’s necessary for virtually every life skill/task. Unlike some other skills, sequencing works iteratively and builds upon itself to increasing numbers of steps and increasing chronological distance from an event or task.

Virtually any recipe can be used to work on sequencing, since we start with two-part directions: first this, then that.

First, unwrap the butter, then put it in the bowl.”

Those are pretty connected directions, and at some point the child will connect them as a single action. Time to add a new step.

“First, unwrap the butter into the bowl, then crack the eggs into the other bowl.”

These unrelated directions (because it’s different ingredients, bowls, and actions) require a little more working memory to accomplish, especially if the butter takes a while to unwrap (fine motor!). That’s okay – it provides an opportunity to check in and reinforce the language.

“Okay, so I see that first you put the butter in the bowl. What comes next?”

The child will recall (perhaps with prompts) that the eggs come next, and the adult can repeat, still modeling sequenced language (and complete sentences).

“Yes! First comes the butter, then comes the eggs.”

A third step can be introduced after that, using words like “last” or “finally.”

“When you measure the flour, first you scoop, then you pour, and last you check to see if you’ve scooped enough.” (Note: we scoop flour into a measuring cup.)

Afterwards, you can use sequencing to help tell the story of your baking. This builds related recall and storytelling skills, and elicits sequenced language.

“When we baked, what ingredient did we use first?” (If prompt necessary:) “Was it butter or eggs?” “Then what came next?” “What did we do last?”

Recipes that target sequencing:

Cowboy Cookies

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes

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Sequencing pin

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