Magic Recipe

This exercise is intended for our younger friends who don’t yet have the motor skills to write on their own. In “Magic Recipe” I imagine poems as recipes and recipes as visual and text-based collages. After all, writing a story or poem is sort of like collecting different ingredients (images, sounds, words) and compiling them in one place.

In “Magic Recipe” students scavenged for words and images that stood out to them as magical. We discussed what made us feel magical in our day to day and used this as a guide to find materials that spoke to us. Warning: this lesson is messy and fun—you might have kids wanting to make recipes long after the hour is up. Perhaps their energy will inspire you to create a magic recipe of your own.

Sequence of Activities

Set Up  (15 minutes)

I played up the “recipe” metaphor of this lesson by organizing my craft materials into categories and setting them on actual plates, platters, pots, and pans. For ingredients I brought in colored paper, glitter paper, popsicle sticks, stickers, magazines, plastic flowers, and pipe cleaners. It can be fun to take the whole metaphor further by adding some utensils to the mix!

When sourcing “ingredients” I thought of the word “abundance” and tried to collect items far and wide so students had a variety of materials to engage with. I think this also creates a sense that magic itself is abundant and all around us!

Step 1 (5 minutes)

Ask the students to define “magic.” What is magic? What (and this is the important question) does magic feel like? How do you feel when you feel magical? Ask students if anything has happened to them thus far in their day that has made them feel magical. Bring the conversation back to how they felt in their body when they experienced that thing.

Next, ask students what comprises a recipe and what a recipe teaches us. Allow language to fill the air. Eventually steer the students toward the ingredients of a recipe. Direct the student’s attention to the various “magic ingredients” you set on plates and platters and tell the students you all are going to make magic recipes. Tell the students they are on a mission to scan the piles for ingredients that stand out to them as magical.

Step 2 (30-40 minutes)

Allow the students plenty of time to scour the “ingredients.” Encourage students to really explore—encourage them to pick up items from across the piles.

Step 3 (5 minutes)

Time to glue! Help students glue their materials on the page. After this, ask students to share and to share how their recipe makes them feel!




Discussing and identifying our joyful emotions

Education Level: 




Time Frame: 

60-65 minutes

Prior Knowledge/Skills: 


Required Materials: 

Magazines, colorful paper, any general craft supplies (popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, streamers, stickers)

Literary model: 


Lesson Plan: