Easter Fun

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We had a wonderful Easter celebration on a delightful sunny day!   The best day to get all the grandchildren together ended up being on Saturday.  Owen likes to see an agenda of the activities that I plan, so I typed it up for him (and to help me remember!)

Easter activities copy

Bunny hats were the first thing on the list.

hats

I wanted to make a variation on a traditional egg hunt for a few reasons.  The range in ages gives the older kids a big advantage in a regular egg hunt.  The parents really didn’t want the kids to get tons of candy inside the plastic eggs, and the kids all participated in a couple of other regular egg hunts at other parties and in the community.  So I decided to make it into a clue hunt.  I numbered and decorated 6 paper lunch bags, and filled enough eggs for each child to open one at each stop.  Since Max is so little I just put 4 eggs into each bag.  There were a few pieces of candy in each egg, and there was one egg that contained a written clue inside each lunch bag.

hunt JPG

I gave each child a little bucket to carry to hold their eggs and the candy that spilled out when they opened them up.

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We just handed them the first bag of eggs, and the clue inside one of those eggs led them outside.  They went to places like the swing set, under a tree, in the mailbox.  Owen read the clues and they all took off running for the next destination.

hunt read

They ended up back inside where they found bags full of prizes.

hunt end

The next activity was our Easter Parade.  I got out crepe paper streamers, foam Easter shapes, artificial flowers, paper plates, and other supplies.  They had fun decorating the bikes, wagons, stroller, and even our son’s wheelchair that was part of the parade!

parade

They had a great time waving to all the cars that passed by.

We came back inside and made Tumble Bunnies, a craft I found on Pinterest.  I precut the shapes and the children colored them, then we folded and taped them with 2 marbles inside.  The directions recommended using a textured surface but the ones we made did great flipping over going down these ramps.

tumble bunny

ramp

Here is the template I got from Pinterest.  I found it on many sites there.

Tumble Bunnies

We went back outside to play with our parachute.   We played with balls I got at a Dollar Store, and each child took a ball home.

parachute

 

Back inside we played a Memory Game.  I set out a tray of things like a plastic Easter egg, a bunny, a jelly bean, a crocheted egg, just things I found in my Easter decorations.  The children looked carefully at the tray, then they turned away and I removed one thing.  They tried to figure out what was missing.

I included another old favorite activity – Froot Loop necklaces – they love to make and eat these!

froot loop A

We played a game of Hot Potato – passing around a bunny shaped bean bag, and trying not to be the one holding it when the music stopped.

We also did a cooking activity that I found on Pinterest too.  We used Grands Biscuits, some recipes use refrigerated crescent rolls or frozen bread dough, but they are all basically the same.  I loved this activity because it gave us a chance to tell a very simplified story of Jesus and the resurrection.

Each child rolled out one biscuit to about a 5 or 6 inch circle.  We painted on melted butter with a basting brush.  Then we put a marshmallow – which stood for Jesus, in the center of the circle, and sprinkled on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  We gathered up the dough to seal the marshmallow inside.  I told the children that Jesus rose from the dead and was not inside the tomb the next day.  We wondered together if the marshmallow might be gone too.  We sprayed a baking sheet with nonstick spray and dipped the biscuit bundle in more melted butter and placed it on the tray and sprinkled it with more cinnamon and sugar.   We made enough rolls for each family to take a tray home, and bake them for Easter morning breakfast.

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They turned out great!  One of my favorite parts of Easter this year was a text message my son sent.  Lily was so excited she yelled “Yook!  Jesus isn’t there!  (Still perfecting the L sound!)

Of course we had to dye eggs too!  It was a great celebration!

egg dye 2

 

I hope your family enjoyed a wonderful, safe and fun celebration too!

 

Still More Cooking Ideas!

Here are some more ideas of cooking projects that I used in my classroom!  I hope you can find something that you would like to try.

Hot Dog Racers

During our transportation unit we made hot dog race cars.  We boiled the hot dogs and each child stuck a toothpick through their hot dog near each end.  They put a cheese ball snack on each end of the toothpick, to make the wheels.  It was very simple, and very popular.  We tried different foods for wheels to be a little more healthy – carrot slices, which were hard to poke the toothpick into, and banana slices – but the cheese balls were far more popular!

Astronaut Food

During our Outer Space unit we ate like the astronauts by putting applesauce into ziploc baggies.  The cooking mom cut off a corner of the bag – to make sure it was not too big, and to insure that the children didn’t leave hanging plastic they might ingest.  The children put the corner with the hole into their mouth and squeezed the applesauce.  We talked about the pitfalls of trying to eat in zero gravity.  We also had Tang to drink – for those of you too young to know – it used to be advertised as the drink of the astronauts.

Check out my post on Outer Space – we also used small Milky Way candy bars on the balance scales – there is a recording sheet on that post.

Bunny Biscuits

This recipe is for bear biscuits – but you get the idea.  We made these for spring or Easter sometimes.

Bear Biscuits-2

To make Bunnies I gave each child 1 full biscuit and 1 biscuit cut into 2 pieces.  They formed the ears, and added eyes and a nose before we baked them.

Another spring/Easter idea was Pita Rabbits – I gave each child 1/2 small pita.  They spread on cream cheese or peanut butter.  It made a profile of a bunny body – they put a jellybean on one end for a nose, and a marshmallow on the other for a tail.  They added one M & M for an eye, and 2 carrot sticks for ears.  Of course we read Peter Rabbit.

Trash Can Snacks

Check out my post about recycling to see how we used an empty ice cream cone as a trash can and counted out pieces for rocks, sticks, etc.

Hot Dog Octopus

If you have never made this with your own children I would really encourage you to try it – my kids loved it.

Hot dog octopus-6

Here are a couple more ideas that go along with fish and oceans.

Fish bowls-7

I called this one Jellyfish biscuits – I gave each child one full biscuit and one quarter – shaped like a triangle, that they added for a tail fin.

Jellyfish biscuits-1

Breadstick Snakes

During our Rainforest or Jungle unit, I bought the rolls of crescent rolls.  Each child took one piece of dough and rolled it into a snake.  Sometimes we sprinkled on colored sugar, then we baked the snakes and ate them!  Yummy!

You could also form this crescent roll dough into letter shapes.  Defrosted, frozen bread dough works well too – or you could make letter pancakes.

Letter pancakes

When we read the story The Little Red Hen we made homemade rolls.  Sometimes I brought in my bread machine to do the heavy mixing, the kids helped add the ingredients and shaped their own rolls.  The whole school came down when they smelled them baking!!  Check out that recipe under the Themes section where I talked about Farms.

Here are a few more recipes that might go along with a Farm theme.

Pig in blanket

mud & dirt

Ice cream

Spiders

Marshmallow spider

Or Butterfly Bites – goes along with Bugs too!

Butterfly bite

100th Day Snack

For the 100th day we ate 10 each of 10 things.  The kids counted them into baggies in case they didn’t finish eating them at school.

100 snack 2

100 snack

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding

Cherry Pie – Great for Washington’s birthday!

Cherry pie-7

Dinosaurs!!

Delicious dinos activities-1

Delicious dinos activities-2

This goes great with the book – If You Give a Mouse A Cookie

Mouse cookies-1

Tortilla roll up – you might stretch this idea to use for Cinco de Mayo

Tortilla roll up-3

Zebra Pudding-8

I used pudding for several recipes each year.  Sometimes I bought instant powdered pudding and the children helped mix it up.  Other times I bought pre-made canned pudding.  If there is a Gordon’s Food Service store near you, they have great prices on large cans of pudding, and lots of other cooking supplies.  At the store I use they also gave me a school discount.  Another thing I bought there was cupcake papers to use for goldfish crackers, cheerios, etc. for daily snacks.  The kids could handle them easily and didn’t spill as much.

I know I shared lots of different snack ideas – but you don’t have to cook every week.  You might want to just try it out one time, the children really love it.  When older kids come back to visit me, cooking is one of the things they remember fondly about kindergarten.

Thanks for reading!!

More Cooking Recipes

Here are some more suggestions of things to cook with young children.  In my last post I was talking about how loosely I define cooking – sometimes it is much more assembling, or tasting, than actually cooking.  No matter what, the children love to use real utensils and to participate in these projects.

5 Senses Tasting

There are some lesson plans out there that include bringing in a popcorn popper, then hiding it so the children can hear and smell the popcorn before they taste it.  I have tried some of the old AIMS lessons that suggest taking the lid off the popcorn popper and letting it fly, and the children predict how far they think kernels will go.  Here is another popcorn project from my files.

Popcorn snack-1

Another project I enjoyed was bringing in sugar and salt.  I encouraged the children to investigate it any way EXCEPT tasting it.  They smelled it, touched it, looked at it.  They tried to guess which one was sugar and which was salt.  Then I gave each child a few grains of each to taste.  After that I provided a variety of sweet and salty foods and a recording sheet.  The biggest challenge for my children was often to follow the chart over and make their X in the right column.

sweet and salty

Applesauce

I always took my Kindergartners to an apple orchard, and we followed up that trip by making applesauce.   I found a little book called Who Will Help at a teacher’s store.  It was a variation on the story the Little Red Hen, but it also sequenced how to make applesauce.  Check out the Little Red Hen post to see a picture of that book.

After washing the apples I would cut about 6 apples into slices – I did not core or peel them.  Then I put them into an electric skillet with a little water, and cooked them until they were soft.  When the cooking Mom called the first group of children she would take the cooked apples out of the pan and put them into a food mill – kind of like a saucepan with holes in the bottom, and a handle to turn.  That group of children would all help to cut up the next batch of apples, then they would turn the handle on the food mill – the peeling and seeds and core stayed in the mill, the applesauce came out the holes.  I provided a shaker of cinnamon and sugar and they could sprinkle a little of that on top.

I also own an apple peeler/corer.  Sometimes I would bring that in, each child would help turn the handle to peel and core an apple – we cooked them the same way.  You could serve those without putting them through the food mill but I found that most children like a smoother texture instead of chunky.  The applesauce always smells so delicious, and most years the cooking mom said she planned to make it again at home.

Pumpkin Muffins

These muffins were one of my favorite cooking projects.  Each child took a few spoonfuls of spice cake mix and a spoonful of canned pumpkin, and a little water.  They put all these ingredients into a 5 oz. paper cup, and stirred it up.  (Don’t start with the cake mix or they have a hard time getting the mix all blended in.)  Then the Mom put the paper cups into an electric skillet and “baked” them with the lid on – don’t add water or anything to the skillet.  It is so cool!!  I sometimes provided cream cheese along with these muffins.  They smelled so great too!  The hardest thing is to resist the temptation to peek while they are cooking.

I found a printed recipe for baking cupcakes in a skillet.

Cupcake in cup-6

To make the pumpkin muffins you would eliminate the food color, and add 1 Tbsp. pumpkin to each child’s cup!  So fun!  Don’t worry about not adding egg to the recipe – they come out great.

I also had an activity to go along with the colorful cupcakes – if you were making those instead!
Cupcake Activities

Ghost Toast -

Check out my post where Owen and I made ghost toast – and the printed recipe for Rainbow Toast.

Cornbread and Butter

We used Jiffy cornbread mix to make muffins – you could make them according to the cupcake recipe or you could just bake them in an oven or toaster oven.  We made our own butter by shaking a small amount of heavy cream in closed baby food jars.  It’s fun for the children to watch as it thickens and turns into butter, and it tastes great!

Butter

Apple Turkeys

I plan to do this with Owen and post the pictures closer to Thanksgiving – but here is a short description.  Each child got 1 small apple and 4 or 5 toothpicks.  They pushed one toothpick into the apple and put a colored small gumdrop on it for the turkey’s head.  Then they put the other 3 (or 4) toothpicks in the top.  The children used Froot Loops to make a different pattern on each toothpick feather – AB, AABB, or ABC.

Here is another turkey project made out of Nutter Butter cookies.

Nutter butter turkey

Humpty Dumpty

When we were working on Nursery Rhymes we made scrambled eggs and toast.  Many Kindergartners have never had a chance to intentionally break an egg.  I always bought extra in case some ended up on the floor.  We cooked the eggs in an electric skillet – the kids broke and stirred the egg, and buttered their own toast.  The parent did the cooking in an electric skillet.

Mini Pizzas

These small pizzas, made on an English Muffin or Bagel, were always a hit.  Sometimes we made this recipe when we were learning about different food groups.  I bought pizza sauce in a jar or can, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni.  So we had foods from the vegetable group, bread group, meat group and milk group.  We had apple juice to drink so that covered fruit.

We also called the pizzas flying saucers when we were learning about Outer Space.

Mini pizzas-6

Snowman Soup

Snowman soup was really just a fun way to serve hot chocolate, and I usually included it with my Winter Unit.  Each child got 1 packet of cocoa mix, 5 mini marshmallows, 2 Hershey Kisses, and 1 small candy cane.  I stocked up on the little candy canes before Christmas – or got them on sale right after!  I made up numbered cards showing the recipe step by step.  I used the school’s big coffee maker to heat the water – the parents did the pouring, and they often diluted it a bit with cooler water because the children didn’t really want to drink it while it was hot.

Apple Smiles

This was a great snack when we were talking about Dental Health – or during the fall.

apple smile

I often turned my Dramatic Play Center into a Dentist office that week too.  We had a large model of teeth, and a big toothbrush.  I also made pretend teeth by mixing up Plaster of Paris and putting it into the cups of egg cartons.  It had to set overnight, then the “teeth” came out easily.  You can get Plaster of Paris at Walmart or a hardware store.  I made a cavity on each one with a permanent marker.  The “Dentists” used a popsicle stick to dig out the cavity and filled it with the putty used to keep things on the wall.  We tried Play Dough for the fillings, but it didn’t stick inside the plaster teeth.

Still more recipes to come!  I am sharing them roughly in the order I used them through the year.  I hope some of you give cooking a try!  If you can’t do it with your Kindergartners, try it with a child you love!

Cooking Ideas

Several teachers have asked for recipes that I used to cook with my Kindergartners.  I am happy to share this chart of some of the cooking projects we did through the year.  I wasn’t usually this organized about it though – I made this chart by going through old lesson plans, not at the beginning of the year.  There were some cooking projects that I repeated every year, other times I was making something up as we went along.

Cooking themes

Here is another list of the cooking ideas:

cooking projects

I didn’t always have a written recipe for the children to follow, but when you can that adds another great learning extension – it gives the children a real life reason to read, and shows one way we use numbers and math skills.

Dinosaur Footprints were one of my own children’s favorite simple cooking projects, so of course I had to share that with Owen.

You will need bread, peanut butter (I called it prehistoric mud), jelly if desired (called berry bush jam) and a toaster.

Lightly toast a piece of bread and place it on the plate so that the rounded top of the bread is at the bottom.  You could do this with untoasted bread, but it is a little more difficult for children to cut.

Spread prehistoric mud (peanut butter) on the bread.

Use a plastic serrated knife to cut out 2 triangles (toe nails).  I always demonstrated the cooking project in front of the whole class before a parent volunteer called them to do it in small groups.  I talked about starting to cut at the corner of the bread, and pressing down with the knife while I sawed it back and forth.  Owen – at 2 – needed me to help him hand over hand.  Many Kindergartners can get the hang of using the knife with careful supervision.

I told the children these “toe nails” are a special treat!  Owen is usually a firm no-crust kind of guy, but he gobbled the triangle toe nails, crust and all.

Some dinos walk through berry bushes – the children decided whether to include the berry bush jam.

As you can see, Owen refused the crust on the footprint – but he loved it anyway!  At school I often offered prehistoric swamp water to go along with it – either milk tinted green with food color, or green Kool Aid.

Love Muffins

For Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day we made Love Muffins.  I bought Jiffy Baking Mix and used the directions for baking 12 muffins.  Our Cooking Mom called 6 kids at a time and involved all of them in the measuring and mixing.  They added 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips to the batter.  After spooning the muffins into the paper cups they sprinkled a mixture of cinnamon and sugar on top before baking.

We were able to use a real oven in our teacher’s lounge for baking projects.  If I had the luxury of an extra parent she might take a pan of muffins to the oven to cook as soon as it was filled.  If we only had one mom she waited to do the baking until all children had a chance to cook.  Each child ate one muffin at school, and took one home for Mom, or someone they loved.

ME Face

Me face

Along with our ME unit we made faces out of rice cakes.  I offered peanut butter or cream cheese to spread on.  For hair I also bought cheese puffs – the kind that are a couple of inches long.  The kids stuck them in and they really made the faces look funny.  For mouths I bought twistable red licorice.  We didn’t use much and it saved well for other projects.

Teddy Bear Pancakes

I used pancake mix that only required the addition of water.  Parents had to do the cooking on an electric griddle I bought for my room – you can usually find a pretty good one at a garage sale!  The parent made one big circle and 2 small circles for each child.  As you very well know – kids don’t wait well.  The parent would pre-make one set of the large and small pancakes – enough for a group of 5-6 kids.  Then she would call a group to come and mix up batter.  That group would eat the batch she had pre-made.  Then the next group would eat the batch the first group mixed up.  When you do this you have an extra batch of pancakes at the end – but it does make the process go more smoothly.  The secretaries and office loved getting our left overs.  Another suggestion would be to send kids to do a job of some sort while the pancakes cooked.  It just doesn’t work well to have them sitting and waiting at the table, inevitably there will be some who get rowdy.

I usually did this project early in the year when we were reviewing shapes and singing our circle song, to the tune of Frere Jacques.

This is a circle, this is a circle.

How can you tell?  How can you tell?

It goes round and round, no ends can be found

It’s a circle, it’s a circle.

They arranged the 2 small circles at the top for ears.  You can use chocolate chips or raisin for eyes if you’d like.  It gives the kids a chance to carefully serve themselves syrup too.

If you are cooking with children – or for that matter, anything you do with children, you need to think carefully about what you expect the children to learn from the experience.  Cooking experiences provide lots of opportunities to learn new vocabulary, practice numeric and math skills, fine motor development, social interactions, read recipes, incorporate science concepts, etc.  It didn’t matter to me whether the recipe was simply assembling food into shapes or actually cooking or baking.  Sometimes I referred to it as Cooking or Snack Math, so parents would understand that we wouldn’t always be actually cooking.   Most of the time the kids absolutely loved it!

Pudding in a Cloud

Waffle Clouds

I usually made one of these for our cooking project  during our weather unit.  To make Pudding in a Cloud I purchased instant chocolate pudding (or canned) and Cool Whip.  The children helped mix the pudding, and let it set.  They spooned Cool Whip into a clear plastic cup (like a punch cup) and spread it around the sides.  Then they spooned chocolate pudding inside.  Yum!

Sometimes waffle clouds consisted of toasted waffles, dusted with powdered sugar.  The kids loved using the sifter to serve the powdered sugar.  Other times I brought in my waffle iron and the children mixed up the batter – usually using a mix – and we actually made the waffles.

Mickey Mouse Sundaes

I am a big Mickey fan so we always celebrated his birthday (Nov. 18!).  One of our projects was making Mickey Sundaes – each child got a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and 2 small brown circle cookies.  I often used vanilla wafers because this was quite a big snack already..  Mickey’s eyes were M & Ms, his mouth was licorice and his nose was a chocolate malted milk ball – like Whoppers.  Hey – if you are a parent of trick or treat aged children you can save some of that candy for projects like this.  I also used to set aside Halloween candy to use for Gingerbread Houses.

3 Bears Porridge

I gave each child a packet of instant oatmeal.  They opened the package and poured it into a small bowl, an adult added the hot water (not boiling because it takes too long for it to cool!)  I provided choices of things to add like raisins, cinnamon, chocolate chips, etc.  The children stirred it and ate it!

Gummi Bear Graphs

You could do this kind of sorting and graphing with lots of foods – M & Ms, Froot Loops, any kind of gummis, Valentine conversation hearts etc.  I used gummi bears to introduce the whole concept.  We started out by sorting the bears by color.  I made construction paper sorting mats, I used the Ellison die cut machine to cut out the 4 colors of teddy bears – one for each mat.  I made 7 mats – one for me to demonstrate, 6 for the center.  I glued those bears onto dark blue construction paper and laminated them.  The children each got a baggie with about 12 gummi bears and sorted them by placing them on the matching color.  Here is a chart you could also use:

You might color the bars containing the color words to help the children.

You could use this recording sheet to practice counting, 1 to 1 correspondence and numeral writing.

Or you could use a graph like this:

When I demonstrated this graph I actually laid the bears onto the graph to make a concrete graph.  I talked about how I wanted to take my graph home, and I couldn’t pick it up with the bears on it so I showed the children how I could color each printed bear as soon as I removed the real bear and ate it.

Here are copies to print:

bear_graph

Gummy Bear Graph sheet

bear_sorting_sheet-5

Please check back, I have lots more cooking ideas and recipes to share!

Cooking Ideas

I really enjoyed cooking in school, but I just love cooking with Owen.

I always thought that cooking was a natural way to integrate science concepts, reading (recipes), vocabulary, good health habits, math and social skills.  Exactly how you go about it probably depends a lot on the make up of your classroom.  I was very fortunate to have good parent support, and most parents donated money to support our cooking projects.  I asked for 50 cents per week, and that covered paper products as well as supplies.  Not all parents sent in the money, but most did.  When I first began cooking at school I asked for donations of the ingredients and supplies, but I was concerned that parents might forget so I usually bought a back up set anyway.  Also sometimes parents would not send exactly what I thought I was asking for, so I decided just to ask for money, and I did the shopping myself.  Most parents paid by the semester, or the entire year – so I didn’t have to keep collecting the money all year.  I realize that not all schools are able to ask for donations.

The other requirement is to have a good parent volunteer who is excited about cooking with the children.  I liked having the same Mom every week if possible, because she was able to quickly get to know the children and the routine.   I made a check off chart that was very helpful for the cooking moms.

I glued one of these charts to a piece of 9 x 12 construction paper, then laminated it.  I put the laminated chart on a clipboard and provided vis a vis markers.  As the parent called small groups of children at a time to do the cooking project she could check off their name on the chart, to be sure every child got a turn.  I used these charts over and over when I wanted to hold each child accountable for completing an activity, and often when I was assessing them.  I could label the columns things like – counts to 30, recognizes shapes, makes an AB pattern, etc.

Here is another class list that I used all the time – this one gave a small space to write a note about each child – I used it the first day to note which children could write their name, and make a quick note of behaviors that stood out.  When the children completed a project I might use one of these pages to write a simple note about fine motor skills, phonetic spelling, recognizable drawing, etc.

I bound a bunch of these note taking class lists into a booklet.  This was an easy way to keep anecdotal notes, and  I could always find my notes about the children when I needed them.   Sorry – I guess I strayed from my cooking talk!

I bought lots of books to get ideas for cooking projects.  Here are a few:

I will give a little peek into each book by including a sample page.

I would usually cut apart the pictures and put them on numbered, stand up cards for the children to follow the recipe.

 

One of my favorite ways to cook is called Cup Cooking

I didn’t use a lot of recipes from this book because some were not things I thought the kids would love to eat.  But I loved the concept of this – each child would take 2 Tbsp. flour, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 Tbsp. butter (for example) and mix it together in a small cup, and it would make just a single serving – something like 2 cookies or 1 biscuit, etc.  With Cup Cooking each child added ALL the ingredients for the recipe for their own single serving.

Today Owen and I made a recipe that I always called Ghost Toast.  In Kindergarten we made these around Halloween time – but I found a recipe that calls it Rainbow Toast – great for during a weather unit – or any time you want a fun, simple recipe that almost all children will love.

First we got out the supplies we would need.

Then we put 2-3 drops of food coloring into a small amount of milk in each bowl.

I bought new inexpensive paintbrushes at a Dollar Store.

We used the paintbrushes to paint a picture on the bread.

Owen (at 2 1/2) is not into recognizable pictures yet!  I drew a few simple shapes – they might not be very recognizable either!

When we did this for Halloween I modeled a crescent moon, ghost, etc.

Then we put the bread into the toaster, and the colors come out even brighter!

Owen spread his own butter.

I found this recipe for Rainbow Toast in one of my books – it is the same basic idea.

Cooking is such a fun, worthwhile activity.  If you are considering it for this new school year I’d really encourage you to give it a try!  I will be sharing more recipes soon!

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