recipe Archives | Play It Forward Therapy
Super Simple Lemonade Recipe

Super Simple Lemonade Recipe

Kids will love learning how to make fresh squeezed lemonade recipe! This easy homemade lemonade tastes much better than the powdered stuff, and it’s also a fun, simple drink recipe for kids that’s perfectly refreshing. Making fresh lemonade is not only good for practicing fine motor skills, it’s also a wonderful sensory experience.  Making and sharing a glass encourages positive interactions and social skills!  This recipe is based upon 2 servings.  You can easily modify it to make more.


Serves 2


1/3 Cup of sugar

1/4 Cup of lemon juice

1 ½ Cups of water

You will need:  Knife, cutting board, lemon juicer, 2 cups, 1 small pitcher or pyrex liquid measuring cup, whisk



  1. Cut the lemon in half.
  2. Make the sugar syrup: Stir the sugar into a container of hot water until it dissolves.
  3. Set aside and let cool.
  4. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half using the juicer.
  5. Add the pulp back into the lemon juice using a small spoon.
  6. Pour the cooled sugar syrup into a pitcher.
  7. Add the lemon juice with pulp.
  8. Pour 1 ½ cups of cold water into the pitcher, add ice and stir.

Other Ideas:

  • Make it fancy! Garnish with a lemon wedge on the edge of your cup.
  • Set up a lemonade stand!


Talk about the sensory aspects as your making your lemonade with your child.

Here are some example sensory topics to talk about…

How does the lemon peel feel?

When you squeeze the lemons, does it feel hard or soft?

Do you like the smell of lemons?

How does the lemon taste?  Do you like it or not?

This activity is great for practicing fine motor skills and handwriting.

  • Write out the recipe to practice handwriting and copying skills.
  • Use 2 hands, one to hold the lemon while the other hand holds the knife to cut the lemon in half.
  • Pushing down and twisting the lemon on the juicer improves hand strength.
  • Squeezing the lemon halves or lemon wedges improves pinch strength.
  • Holding the glass and pouring is good practice for two hand use.

Set up a lemonade stand and practice social skills

  • How many cups of lemonade will you need?
  • How much will one cup cost?
  • Practice writing by making a sign for your lemonade stand.
  • Practice social skills and greetings, “Hi, my name is ___.  Would you like buy/try some lemonade?”
Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Check out the video tutorial for step by step instructions.


Tired of making ho-hum sandwiches for lunch? Looking for an easy kid lunch for summer?

Kids will love having “dessert” for lunch with these adorable, ice cream shaped sandwiches made with the usual sandwich ingredients. Grilled cheese becomes a waffle cone and a bagel with cream cheese transforms into a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  What a cool suprise!

These easy to make Ice Cream Sandwiches may include all of the same ingredients that your child typically likes, but notice how you’ll be changing  the typical shape and expectation for how a regular sandwich looks.

Pro Tip: Modifying how a preferred food looks is one way to start introducing the concept of  variety.  Since your child already likes the taste, texture and temperature, the only element that changes is the shape.  This is an easier first step to help picky eaters become more accepting of trying something “different” when it is presented in a fun, play based way.

You may be thinking, “Why would I want to complicate my lunch making process?  It’s already a time consuming process”

Well, I’ve got good news.  You don’t have too!  The ingredients can stay the same, you just change up the shape and presentation.

These ice cream sandwiches can easily incorporate your child’s favorite deli meats, cheeses, condiments, peanut butter/jelly  etc… but instead of cutting the sandwich it in half, cut it into triangles for a cone shape.

For the scoop of ice cream, turn a drinking glass or a small bowl upside down and use it like a cookie cutter to make a circle shape.  Use the glass or bowl as a template and cut around it with a knife to achieve a round sandwich shape.  Spread on the cream cheese or jam on a mini bagel or round sandwich bread. And of course you can’t forget to put a “cherry” on top by adding a grape or tiny tomato secured with a toothpick.

For the Grilled Cheese Ice Cream Sandwich, I used my waffle iron.  Here are the steps:  First, butter your bread, layer your cheese, then place the bread at a diagonal angle on the waffle iron to make it look like a waffle cone.

What does making a sandwich have to do with sensory processing?

When it comes to dealing with every day picky eating, include your kids in the lunch making assembling line.   This activity is great practice for kids to experience a variety of tastes, smells and textures.  If you are making multiple sandwiches, perhaps enlist their help in making a sandwich for someone else in the family who likes different toppings on their sandwiches, for example pickles.  Exposure to the various textures of deli meat, cheese and wet condiments like mustard and mayo may be a new sensory experience with a particular focus on the tactile system.

You can also pretend to be a “Food Critic” and talk about the different way the ingredients look, smell, feel and taste.  Give an ingredient a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

Here’s a stack of my tips for efficient, lunch making:

  • If your mornings are hectic, consider assembling lunch boxes the night before to buy some extra time in the morning.
  • Have a large labeled container or bowl for each child.  I call it a “lunch bucket”. Over the weekend, have your kids pre-pack the non-perishable items.  Create an assembly line of bags and choices of chips, crackers, juice boxes, utensils, granola bars etc.
  • Have each child prefill their bags, select enough of each item for the week and put into their designed lunch bucket.
  • If you have multiple children with different tastes, they can choose what goes into their lunch, which is good for giving them some sense of control.
  • Join the Green Team:  I love these reusable sandwich bags and containers.  They’re economical over the long run and better for the environment too! Reusable Sandwich bags or silicone reusable bags

I know you’re gonna love making these with your kids!  These Ice Cream Sandwiches make for the coolest lunches this summer.

And if your child is wondering, where’s the “REAL” dessert? 

You’ll love this pint-sized Ice Cream Cone Cookie Craft.

Ice Cream Cone Cookie

Ice Cream Cone Cookie


I Scream.  You Scream.  We All Scream for Ice Cream!  Go ahead and have a spoon full of ice cream!  

These easy to make Mini Ice Cream Cone Cookies encourage fine motor skill development such as using a knife to cut or spread frosting.  Your child will also practice important dexterity skills for picking up the tiny sprinkles.

When it comes to sensory processing, this cookie craft is especially good if your child is working on increasing their tolerance for having messy hands.  The pairing of a non-preferred sensation (getting hands dirty with frosting) with a positive association of ice cream, can serve as an experience that turns a messy activity into a fun experience.  Plus, licking this kind of ice cream may also introduce a new texture that some kids may otherwise avoid.

I always have a wet paper towel or wet wipe on hand so kids can wipe their hands.  Plus, it’s also best practice for little chefs to learn to not lick their fingers while cooking, no matter how delicious.  It’s not only good practice for sanitation, but also good practice for exercising self-control!

I know you’re gonna love making these with your kids!  Would you like one scoop or two?  Or perhaps you prefer having a spoonful of ice cream?   In this case, each mini ice cream cone fits onto a tablespoon, and although small, they’re sure to be a big hit at your next celebration.

Check out the video tutorial below for step by step instructions to make these tasty treats.



 Here’s what you’ll need

  • Wafer cookie
  • Mini Nilla Wafer cookie
  • Mini M&M or red hot candy
  • Frosting
  • Sprinkles
  • 2 Knives (1 to cut and 1 to spread the frosting)
  • Toothpick

  Make it!

Step 1.

Step 2.

Step 3.

Step 4.

Step 5.

Step 6.

Step 7.

Other modifications

  • Consider subbing ingredients to make it dairy and gluten free.
  • Use a rocker knife.
  • Use tweezers to pick up small candies.


COMING SOON…  A cool Ice Cream Sandwich lunch idea that’ll turn any plain sandwich into a treat!

Pot O’Gold Cookie

Pot O’Gold Cookie

Today’s your lucky day to learn how to make this precious Pot O’Gold Cookie Craft.

Your kids will think they’ve hit the jackpot when they create this leprechaun sized treat!

 Here’s what you’ll need for 1 cookie

  • 1 sandwich cookie (e.g. Oreo)
  • Airheads Extreme Rainbow candy strip
  • 1 Rolo candy
  • White Frosting and green food coloring
  • Tools:  Dull knife or spreader (great for little hands)

  Make it!

STEP 1:  Spread the frosting smoothly to cover the top of the cookie.
STEP 2:  Place the Rolo in the center of the cookie.
STEP 3.  Cut the airhead strip into thirds.
STEP 4.  Bend the rainbow over the Rolo candy.

STEP 5.  Add frosting clouds to the sides of the rainbow.

A Leprechaun sized Pot O’Gold Cookie!

Skills Addressed

  • Fine motor: This craft requires bilateral hand coordination, such as holding scissors to cut with one hand while stabilizing the candy strip with the other hand.  Squeezing the frosting bag is good for strengthening the hands and practicing how to grade the amount of force used.  Squeeze the frosting bag too hard and too much comes out, too little and your clouds will look deflated.
  • Utensil use:  Spreading the frosting is great practice and will come in handy when it’s time to pack sandwiches for lunch!

To increase the challenge

  • Have the child mix up their own frosting.
  • Make multiple cookies for repetition and skills practice

Other modifications

  • Consider subbing ingredients to make it dairy and gluten free.  The Airheads contain wheat.
  • Make your own homemade frosting and cookies.
  • Use this as feeding therapy game, experimenting with different textures to improve tactile tolerance for wet or sticky textures (e.g. frosting, sticky candy, sugar crystals).
Butterfly Cookie

Butterfly Cookie

Add this delicious Butterfly Cookie activity to your next science lesson and your kids will be sure to remember all of the stages in the Life Cycle of a Butterfly!

The focus when creating this butterfly themed cookie craft is on fine motor skills, writing and executive functioning skills such as attention, sequencing and following directions.

Over the past few weeks, our kids at our clinic, Stepping Stones Therapy Network, have made over 200 butterfly cookies!

Even kids who are reluctant to write have been more than eager to write out this Butterfly Cookie recipe.

Check out the video tutorial below for step by step instructions to make the entire life cycle on a paper plate.

For a simpler cookie craft, just make the butterfly by itself.

Want to eat healthy first?

Well, you’re in luck!  Learn how to build Butterfly Sandwiches with the season’s most colorful veggies.

Scroll down to the end of the post for a peek at another veggie snack idea.




 Here’s what you’ll need

  • Large paper plate 
  • Frosting
  • Graham crackers
  • Mini pretzels
  • Gummy worms (sour or regular)
  • Red licorice that can be pulled apart
  • Mini M&Ms
  • Fruit by the Foot
  • Chowmein noodles or pretzel sticks
  • Vanilla yogurt covered raisins

  Make it!

Other modifications

  • Consider subbing ingredients to make it dairy and gluten free.
  • Use fruit instead of candy

For a veggie version, check out Butterfly Sandwiches for a healthy option!

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