Preschool: Baking and the Letter Y

Friday night is homemade-pizza-and-a-movie night at our house and we look forward to it every week.  When the letter Y rolled around I thought it appropriate to do Y for yeast and throw in some other baking elements.  

Sometimes it seems I spend most of the time in the kitchen, and since I often have the kiddos help me they’re no strangers to cooking and baking.  And they love their play kitchen and pretend food!  They get used almost every day in some form or another. 

Bible
I always try to start our day off with the Bible lesson, so this usually gets done at the breakfast table or shortly thereafter.  We’re still using 100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs; it’s very kid-friendly since the stories are short and easily understood but as Gwen gets older I find it slightly lacking.  I’ll be on the lookout for some other biblical resources! 

Anticipating the upcoming holiday, our story for the week was about Jesus riding the donkey on Palm Sunday.  We made Hosanna palms with construction paper and ribbon, waving them and singing “Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!”  Gwen colored a picture and we recited the memory verse, 1 John 3:16 – Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!       

 

The grass in our Easter garden is flourishing.  Phil and I joke that we can’t grow grass in our yard but we can grow it in the Easter garden!  I finally got around to making three twig crosses, though Josiah relocated one of them and I finally found it in a box somewhere. 


Theme

A while ago I started making some felt cookies to go along with the baking theme for the week.  I bought two different colors of felt for different “flavors” and proceeded to cut circles, intending to sew two circles per cookie, then stuff it with fiberfill.  Well, first I sewed colorful felt pieces on top for “icing,” ambitiously topping every single circle before I realized I had no more pieces for the bottoms. *sigh*  So I had to get more felt and ended up with a whole slew of pretend cookies… and I didn’t even finish them!  Sewing the bead sprinkles took a while and I just finished the ones that were almost done by that point.  Side note: I got some oatmeal-colored felt intending to add in some other goodies, which of course I didn’t get around to, so instead I may use it to make pretend whole wheat pasta!   

I found so many cute ideas for felt cookie sets!  If I had more time it would have been fun to make a cookie jar set with some sort of bag or container but I worked with what I had.  At an after-Christmas clearance I got some kitchen ornaments on sale, and along with some pastry erasers, the felt cookies and some other kitchen items I put together a baking-themed sensory bin.


What’s inside:

dyed pasta (just a fun, colorful, scoop- and pourable filler)
muffin tin with silicone liners
measuring cups & spoons
whisk, spatula & colander ornaments
tart tins
shaker with sequins for “sprinkles”
toy pot and potholder with pastry erasers
toy wooden spoons
kitchen towel
pretend dough & cookies

 
 

The kids had so much fun with this!  I will admit, however, to regretting my decision to put the dry pasta inside as my kids cannot follow directions to keep it in the bin or at least within the boundaries of the blanket on which I put the bin.  Pretty soon the pasta was strewn all over the house and I angrily vacuumed it up.  I relegated the baking items to a basket, which was prettier anyway. 

One of the books in our basket is a counting pastry book, so with each page I had Gwen count out pretend cookies.   


She had fun serving us treats and telling us what flavors they were.  Josiah is all about the scooping and pouring.

 

Our Little Monkeys has a cute Little Bakers Tot Pack and we used some of the printables during the week.

 

Both Gwen and Josiah enjoyed these build-your-own-cupcake printables that I laminated with my last three sheets!  They’re so sweet and whimsical, I enjoyed them too!  I didn’t want to put them in a plain ol’ plastic baggie so I stored the pieces in one of the linen snack bags I made.  They had to follow the little “recipe” card and put the pieces together in order.    

 

During Josiah’s naptime one day, Gwen helped me make Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting.  It’s a pretty good recipe as-is, but I healthify it even more and put less frosting on top.  She helps me put the ingredients in the bowl, pestering me the whole time for a taste and making faces at her reflection in the bowl.  I let her lick the beater when we’re done, of course.  That’s a favorite childhood memory of mine; who am I to deprive her?   

 

Since Friday is pizza night I saved Living Life Intentionally’s Pizza Learning Pack and related items for that day.  The kiddos did shadow-matching, Gwen clapped out syllables and they topped their pretend pizza. 

 
 

The learning pack goes along with the book Pizza at Sally’s, and after reading the story we talked about what natural sources the toppings come from and the stages of making a pizza.  We also discovered that pizza is the perfect food, having something from almost every food group!

   

Later the kids helped me roll out the pizza dough and finish it off with toppings.  My homemade pizza dough is very similar to this Whole Wheat Rosemary Pizza Dough, except my amounts are slightly different.  I pour 1 1/4c warm water in a bread machine along with 1-2T olive oil (I don’t measure), 3 1/2c white wheat flour (sometimes I use 3c ww flour and 1/2c cornmeal or ground oats), 2t yeast, a generous sprinkle of sea salt and/or Jane’s Krazy, and a sprinkling of dried rosemary and put it through the dough cycle.  In a pinch I use jarred sauce (without sugar), but I like to use a homemade sauce like this one.

Letter

We’re so close to the end of the alphabet!  And this was a fun week, since I love baking and the kids love both real and pretend food!  Gwen did her letter Y Do-A-Dot page, letter hunt and some workbook pages I earmarked for her. 

 

Phil and I helped the kiddos do yarn Ys by tracing block letters onto construction paper and having them fill it in with glue and pieces of yarn. 

 

Gwen methodically outlined her Y with tiny pieces of yarn while Josiah poured gobs of glue and dropped big strips of yarn.  Their differences crack me up! 

Number
Gwen did the counting clip cards from the tot pack along with the cupcake file folder game we’ve had for a while now.  She’s big on giving colors flavors now; yellow is always lemon meringue. 


Shape
The kiddos did some lacing shapes and there just so happened to be a slice-of-pizza triangle in there. 

 

Our shape of the week was a parallelogram, which I’m pretty sure went over her head, but I pointed out how it looks like a squished rectangle.  I had her decorate her parallelogram picture like a pizza with toppings. 

“Parallelogram pizza,” makes it easier to remember, I think.

Bulletin Board
Book Basket
Theme/Vocab
Walter the Baker
Fannie in the Kitchen
Pizza at Sally’s
Apple Pie ABC
Curious George and the Pizza
 The Little Red Hen
The Cow Loves Cookies
The Great Doughnut Parade
Scooby-Doo! Disappearing Donuts
Cupcake

Letter
Yoko
Fancy Nancy
The Fairies’ Alphabet Book
A Year Full of Holidays
Flutterby
Glitterby Baby
Extra Yarn
So Sleepy Story

Number
The Baker’s Dozen
What’s Cookin’?  A Happy Birthday Counting Book

DVDs
Pete’s A Pizza… and more great kid stories!