Key Fact 5

Teachers' Guide

This is the main guide for Cooking and food skills for children aged 5-8 years.

Key Fact 1

There is a variety of ingredients that can be used for cooking.

Key Fact 2

There are lots of different pieces of equipment used in cooking, some of which have special jobs.

Key Fact 3

There are a number of basic food skills which enable us to cook a variety of dishes.

Key Fact 4

It is important to store, prepare and cook food safely and hygienically.

Key Fact 5

When planning to cook, we need to consider the time of day, person and occasion.

Videos: Peel, chop and grate

See how to prepare fruit and vegetables safely.

Video downloads - Peel, chop and grate

See how to prepare fruit and vegetables safely.

Cool creations

Non-cook recipes for the primary school classroom.

Videos: Cool creations

See how to make some recipes that do not need any cooking!

Video downloads - Cool creations

See how to make some recipes that do not need any cooking!

Hot and happening

Recipes that involve the use of the grill or hob.

Videos: Hot and happening

See how to cook delicious hot meals.

Video downloads - Hot and happening

See how to cook delicious hot meals.

Brilliant baking

Baking recipes for the primary classroom.

Videos: Brilliant baking

See how to bake a range of recipes.

Video downloads - Brilliant baking

See how to bake a range of recipes.
Key Fact 5a

Key Fact 5: When planning to cook, we need to consider the time of day, person and occasion.

a) To know that people eat different food and meals according to the time of day, who they are and the occasion.

Prepare the Meals time Cards 207 and draw 4 columns on the board headed: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack. 

Take each card and ask children to name the food or meal and say which heading they think the card should be placed under.  Ask the children to think about the food groups represented in the meals and if they would add or remove parts of these meals to make them healthier.  For example, the sandwich meals lack foods from the Milk and dairy group and most of the meals are without a drink.

You could use the Meal time SMART Board activity 203 instead of the cards if you wish.

Can the children explain their reasons for putting the foods/meals under particular headings? 

Question the children:

  • What do you eat at these different meal times?
  • What do other people you know eat at these times, e.g. baby brother or sister, grandparent.
  • Does what we eat change if it is the weekend, holiday or special occasion, e.g. a birthday party, Passover, Eid, Pancake day?
  • Why do these events change what we eat? (More time to prepare and eat meals, it’s a celebration, once a year occasion.)

Establish that what people eat depends on the time of day, who they are and the occasion.
Help children understand that some foods are traditionally eaten at certain times of day.  Ask the following questions to elicit this:

  • Would you eat spaghetti bolognaise for breakfast? Why not?

Too much first thing, too long to make in the morning.


  • Would you just eat an apple for your lunch? Why not?

Not enough to keep your body working properly. During the day you need food so you can learn and be active.


  • Would you have toast for your evening meal?

You might do if you have had larger meal at lunch time.


  • Would you eat a vegetable curry and rice for a snack?

No, this is too large for a snack.


Split the class into 4 groups, each to represent a different meal during the day.  The children in each group can work alone or in pairs to design a meal appropriate for the time of day and occasion.  The meal could be for themselves, a baby brother or sister, a parent or grandparent.  They could use drawing packages on computers or art materials, e.g. salt dough, to record their ideas.

Display the work with captions from the children explain who the meal is for, when it is to be eaten and why, e.g. I eat this for my breakfast so I can learn and be active, I eat this bigger lunch when I am on holiday because I have more time to enjoy it, my baby sister eats this for a snack because it is just the right amount to stop her being hungry until she has her evening meal.

Extension: children could carry out research on people in school to answer questions such as:

  • What is the most popular breakfast?
  • What do people like to eat as a snack?
  • What do people eat for lunch at the weekend?

Further activities

Organise a cooking session to prepare dishes for a certain time of day, e.g. breakfast – fruit salad, toast with a topping; lunch - tuna wrap, layered salad.

For lots of non-cook recipes, click here.

b) To be able to modify a recipe to suit the time of day, person and occasion.

Before the lesson, decide on the time of day, people and occasion for a cooking activity.

Tell the children the time of day, person and occasion the food will be for, e.g. an after school snack for themselves and a friend or a dish to share at a lunchtime party.   Talk to the children about the requirements of this, e.g. finger food, attractive presentation.

Show children recipes ideas which fit in with the occasion or event and talk to the children about why they will suit the requirements, e.g. it is light so will be good for a snack, it can be eaten easily – finger food.  Dips or salads would suit this work well because they provide plenty of opportunity to modify and add ingredients to suit the purpose.

Make one of the recipes as a demonstration.  As you do this, question children:

  • What hygiene rules do I need to follow before, during and after this cooking work?
  • What skills will I need to use? E.g. peeling, cutting – the Bridge Hold.

Ask the children how they might make changes to this recipe so it is suitable for the person/people eating it or the occasion, e.g. adding ingredients enjoyed by the recipient/s, adding seasonal ingredients, presenting the dish in a festive way.

Working in small groups, ask the children to look at the recipes and decide what they will make. 

Children can then fill out their Planning Sheet Worksheet 209.

c) To be able to use a tasting session to inform recipe planning.

Set up an ingredient tasting session so children can experience ingredients that could potentially be added to their recipes.

Remind children how to taste the ingredients and use sensory vocabulary.
Use the Investigating ingredients SMART Board resource 204 to demonstrate how to record this.

Explain to the children that while they taste the ingredients, they should think about which ones they might want to add to their chosen recipe, keeping in mind who and what their recipe is for.

Children taste and use the Investigating ingredients Worksheet 210 to record their thoughts.

At the end of the session, they should discuss with their group which of the ingredients they will add to their recipe and if there are any they want to take out.  Question the children to check they have thought about the time of day, person and occasion. They should also think about how their dish will be presented to suit its purpose.

d) To be able to prepare a recipe which considers the time of day, person and occasion for which it is needed.

Set up a cooking session for children to make their snack or dish.  See the Cooking Guide 206.

Before food work begins, re-cap the following:

  • hygiene rules that must be followed, e.g. aprons, wash hands;
  • safety rules which must be followed, e.g. handling equipment;
  • techniques to be used, e.g. bridge hold, claw grip, fork secure;
  • audience and occasion for the snack or dish;
  • presentation.

Ensure the children are clear about what they are doing and have copies of their recipes near by. 

Allow children to carry out their cooking. 

Set up a table with a cloth and perhaps a decoration, e.g. a small vase of flowers.  Ask children to set out their food on the table.  Allow all the children to look at each other’s work.  Question the children:
• How is your snack or dish suitable for the person or people it was planned for?
• How is your dish presented to suit the occasion?

Take some photographs of the dishes with a digital camera.  These could be used for a display.

Allow the children to serve their snacks or dishes to the intended person or people, or perhaps taste them themselves.  Remember to instruct the children on how to do this hygienically (guidance in the Cooking Guide 206).


Question children to see if they understand what food is appropriate for different occasions:

  • What could you eat for breakfast?
  • What makes a good snack?
  • What occasions can you think of where you might eat something special? What would you eat?
  • What time of the day do people usually eat their lunch?
  • What could you eat for your evening meal?

Further activities

Carry out more cooking sessions in related curriculum areas.  See Healthy Eating module 5-7 Cross Curricular for ideas of how to link food into different curriculum subjects.

Downloadable resources