Christmas is over, but it’s still that cozy, chilly time of year where baking things warms up your house and fills it with delightful smells! My littles and I love to cook, so I thought a week filled with baking things was the perfect way to ease out of Christmas break! Real talk- we did these activities and I wrote them up while technically still on break, so we didn’t finish because of all the New Year shenanigans and spending time with friends who have kids in school all year, but I’ve added the activities we didn’t do to the plans as well- just sans pictures- so you’ll have a full week of activities. Don your chef hat and join us for a week filled with yummy treats and the fun activities that go along with them!
-Gingerbread man sequencing: First we read the classic “Gingerbread Man” story. Then I had my littles use these sequencing cards to retell it.
-Gingerbread man story comparing: We read two different versions of “The Gingerbread Man” (there are seriously a ton out there!) and then I had my littles tell me how they were alike and different.
-Cake beginning, middle, end retelling graphic organizer: I printed a picture of a cake, then read my littles the super cute story “The Cook and the King” and had them retell it. As they told me what happened I wrote the beginning at the top of the cake, the middle in the center and the end at the bottom.
-B is for baker writing practice: I printed these “B is for baker” writing practice sheets then had my littles practice writing their letter B’s with them.
-How to make a PB&J: Although it’s not technically cooking, this weeks writing theme was to write a “how to” story on making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If your littles have never done this before, have them make one first with your help, then use their experience to help them write.
-Baking book list:
-Pie fractions: This was a great activity to introduce (or reinforce) fractions! First I traced the bottom of a pie plate on a piece of orange paper and stacked it with 4 other papers to make 5 circles total. Then I showed my littles one and dialogued with them like: How much of the pie is this? (The whole thing!) Exactly, that’s why we call it a “whole”. Now if I cut a whole into two equal pieces…that means they’re the same exact size and shape…what’s that called? (Cutting it in half!) Yes! That’s why we call them “halves”…this is one half, and if I have two, that’s two halves. If I cut a whole into 3 equal pieces, what’s that called (Threes!) Close! It’s called “thirds”…see we have one third, two thirds, three thirds and that makes a whole! …..ok, you get the idea right? LoL I continued on demonstrating fractions by cutting up my circles until we’d gone through fifths. Then I gave my littles pieces of the pie and had them tell me what fraction they had (ie. 2/3, 1/2, 3/4 etc.) If they don’t get it at first, you can demonstrate how to count the pieces then look at the bottom number to help you find the fraction. This was so hands on my 5 year old picked it up super quick, but if your little doesn’t get it yet, that’s ok too! They will in time! 🙂
-Make vanilla and chocolate cookie dough using measurement: We used our measuring cups to make a batch of playdough (2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 tbsp cream of tartar, 2 tbsp oil, 2 cups water- cook on stovetop until doughy). Then we split it and scented half with 2 tbsp cocoa powder and the other half with 1.5 tbsp vanilla…these turned out SO yummy and were a great way to practice measuring wholes using capacity. I got the recipe from One Time Through.
-Chocolate chip cookie count: I made little paper cookies out of tan paper, wrote the numbers 1-10 on them and had my littles count chocolate chips to match each number. You can also use these to sort the numbers 1 through 10.
-Cookie adding: I used the cookies in the above activity to work on adding with my 5 year old. I gave him two cookies and had him add the numbers. If it was too tricky, I let him count out chocolate chips for each number then count the total to add.
-Scooping fractions: Get out a set of measuring cups and spoons, fill a cake pan with flour and let your little explore measuring capacity. This is a great way to discover how many halves/quarters/eighths fit in a whole.
-Fruit salad making (mixtures): We discussed what mixtures are as we made fruit salad together (when 2 or more things are combined but are still the same substance that you started with…ie. the apples are still apples, the oranges still oranges and so on, they’re just mixed up with other fruit).
-Haystack treats (changing states of matter): We made haystacks by melting chocolate chips then stirring in those crispy Asian noodles, putting small piles of them on a cookie sheet topped with parchment paper and popping them in the fridge to solidify. As we worked I asked my littles what states of matter the chips were (solid then liquid after we added heat) as well as the noodles (solid the whole time). We discussed that when we stirred them together it made a mixture and they independently observed that they were back to being fully solid after being in the fridge for 20 minutes because we “added cold”.
-Fizzy dough cupcakes: We made fizzy dough by mixing 1 cup of baking soda with 3/4 cups of flour and about 1/2 a cup of water (enough to make a dough when it’s all mixed together). Then I divided the dough into cupcake tins and gave my littles some colored white vinegar and pipettes and let them explore! We ran out of enough dough to fill the tins, so the last few just had baking soda in them which produced smaller, more foamy bubbles (the dough made bigger bubbles) which led to some good science discussion and comparison. I got my inspiration from Sugar Spice and Glitter.
-Inquiry: How does leaving out ingredients change the outcome of a recipe? Get a box of brownie mix and divide it into 4ths. For the first quarter, leave out the eggs, for the second leave out the water, for the third leave out the oil and for the fourth make it as it instructs (don’t forget to quarter the add in ingredients too!). Then bake the different batters in small tins or muffin wells and observe the differences in the end result using your 5 senses! I got this from Bethany Ishee.
-Chemical and physical changes with gingerbread making: Make gingerbread men/women. Discuss physical and chemical changes (as well as mixtures, which is a type of physical change) as you prepare, roll out, cut and bake the dough.
-Bakers hats: This activity was sooooo funny and cute! My littles aren’t all about making and wearing hats, but I loved it and I know other kids will think it’s fun too! You just staple 2 pieces of paper together to fit your little’s head, then tape the edges of a piece of white tissue paper around the top and puff it up to make a chef hat!
-Make and decorate play dough cookies: We used the cookie dough we made in math, cookie cutters and sequins to make and decorate pretend cookies!
-Do-a-dot cake decorating: I printed these do-a-dot cake pages and had my littles “decorate” their own cakes with dot markers!
-Kitchen utensil paint exploration: This was a really fun process art activity my littles both enjoyed! You just cover a table with brown packing paper (I taped it under so it wouldn’t slide) then give your littles some paint and various kitchen utensils to explore with! They can stamp, brush, and swirl to their heart’s content!
-Shaving foam paint cupcakes: Give your littles a print out of a cupcake and have them color it. Then have them “frost” it with shaving foam paint (1 cup shaving cream, enough wet glue to make it sticky but not too flat…you can eyeball it! LoL) Add sequin sprinkles and you’ve got a yummy craft to hang on the fridge! I got this idea from Trinity Preschool MP.
-Decorate gingerbread cookies: This goes along with the science activity above- you just give your littles some frosting and sprinkles and have them decorate the cookies they made.
-Letter of the week: Nn, each day we do a different activity focused on our letter- introduction/have your little practice it on the chalkboard (or white board), think of words that start with the letter and make a list, workbook letter writing practice, workbook word writing practice.
-Word of the week: can, each day we do a different activity focused on our word- introduction/sound the word out/have your little practice writing it on the chalkboard or whiteboard, word family list- think of other words that rhyme with your word of the week, use the word in a sentence (have your little come up with the sentence and write it for them) then have your little illustrate the sentence, and workpage practice.
-Bible verse: This month’s Bible verse is “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 I write each word in the verse on a post-it, stick them to the wall then have my little point to each word and read it each day all month.
-Character trait of the month: empathy…this word is reviewed and posted at the start of the month then each time one of my littles freely demonstrates generosity I use the word to specifically praise what they’re doing and encourage the trait in them. (ie. “You could tell your brother was upset and you comforted him like your own feelings got hurt- thank you for showing empathy.”)
- 3 different Gingerbread person stories
- playdough lids
- vanilla playdough ingredients
- brownie ingredients
- measuring cups
- chocolate chips
- gingerbread cookie ingredients
- haystack ingredients
- fruit (3-4 different kinds, for fruit salad)
- large bowl
- shaving cream
- white tissue paper
- cookie decorations
- kitchen utensils