Exploring cornucopias

Holidays present a wonderful opportunity to expose our children to new ideas and vocabulary.  We recently explored a new word with our children as it relates to our  up and coming Thanksgiving feast.  That word was cornucopia…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

With our Thanksgiving feast fast approaching, we wanted to explore the many different types of foods that are served at a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  The word cornucopia isn’t a word that we use very often.  It is a word that was unfamiliar to most of our children.  A cornucopia is also sometimes referred to as a “horn of plenty” and is a traditional Thanksgiving symbol…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

On our large tray, we spread out many different types of play fruits and vegetables.  We also set out paper bags to use as our cornucopias.  The children pointed out some of their favorite fruits and vegetables and we discussed some that may have been unfamiliar to them like egg plant…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

We then invited the children to fill their horns of plenty with all of the fruits and vegetables that they would like to eat at their Thanksgiving feast…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

The children grabbed a bag and began filling their cornucopias to the brim…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

This activity gave the children a chance to explore lots of new words and they were eager to tell us all about the contents of their cornucopias…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

The play with our pretend fruits and vegetables continued all throughout the week as the children went to the grocery store…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

We also found several books that talked about the kinds of foods people often eat at their Thanksgiving feasts including this fun book titled “One is a Feast for Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale” by Judy Cox. This book is about a mouse who went off to gather as many left-overs as he could carry from the family table to enjoy a feast for a mouse…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

The little mouse in our book tried to balance as many things from the Thanksgiving feast table as he could. He balanced things up high but soon it all came tumbling down to the floor and in the end, he was left with one little pea which was exactly just the right amount for a feast for one…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

We used our pretend food to retell the story of the little mouse as we worked together to balance the food from our cornucopias on a plate just like the mouse did…

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

Keeping all that food from falling off the plate as we walked across the room was a very big challenge.  Perhaps, just like the mouse, we don’t need quite so much food for a feast after all!

Exploring cornucopias by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By | November 25th, 2013|Categories: Children's Books, Holiday Ideas, Thanksgiving|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Cooking in the classroom

We recently spent a morning exploring different types of fruit.  With that fruit, we created a delicious rainbow fruit salad.  What we learned is that cooking in the classroom is about so much more than just measuring, slicing, and pouring.  It can be a multi-sensory experience…

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

To begin our morning, we read a delightful story called “End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad.”  It is a simple book that explores both colors and numbers, as well as many different types of fruit.  Be sure to stick around because tomorrow we will be giving away a copy of this book!

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

After reading our book, we passed around a few of the fruits that were mentioned in the book…

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

We passed around a pineapple, grapes, bananas, strawberries, and a papaya:  all fruits that were about to be used in our fruit salad.  While we passed the fruit around, we talked about using all of our senses to examine the fruit.  What color is the papaya?  How does that prickly pineapple feel on your fingers?  What do those strawberries smell like?  Of course, we would see what it tastes like later.  It was, not only an invitation to explore the fruit, but an opportunity to build language skills…

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

Passing our fruit around the circle was also an opportunity to work on sharing and turn taking.  After sharing around our circle, it was time to turn all that beautiful fruit into fruit salad…

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

We moved to our larger tables and each child had the opportunity to wash and cut the fruit we just explored.  Some of our fruit required big knives, which only Mrs. Stewart and Mr. Hayden were allowed to use.  The children were given plastic knives to cut the fruit into smaller, bite-sized pieces….

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

If you’ve ever attempted cooking with a large group of children, you will understand that it can be quite a daunting task but it isn’t one you should shy away from.  Our children always love the opportunity to create their own snack.  They are more eager to try a new food, when they have helped create it themselves…

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

Working side by side with other children to achieve a common goal requires cooperation and sometimes patience, while waiting for a turn…

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

Cooking in the classroom also allows children to explore foods in a completely new way.  None of our children had ever eaten a papaya, let alone had the opportunity to cut it open and scoop out its slimy seeds…

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

When all of our fruit was cut, we had a very colorful and delicious rainbow fruit salad.  The children had pride in knowing that they helped to prepare this yummy snack…

Cooking in the classroom by Teach Preschool

Now it’s your turn!  Please share your favorite posts to our
Cooking with Kids linky!

Discover and Explore

Discover and Explore: Cooking with Kids

Upcoming Themes:

Currently Open – Cooking with Kids

November 20 – Life Skills

November 27 – Gifts

December 4 – December Holidays

December 11 – Indoor Games and Play

December 18 – Winter

Please read the following guidelines for sharing:

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic — kids activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, printables, etc.
  • By linking up, you are giving me permission to share your post including one photo in our weekly feature post and on social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that have linked up, find some new ideas & meet new friends!
  • If you’d like, grab a button for your post — we love to share and want to find lots of great activities to highlight for you!

The linky will remain open for one week. Then all five co-hosts will feature activities in a separate post the Friday after the linky closes. All featured posts will be shared on the Discover and Explore Pinterest Board.  (Be sure to follow so you don’t miss any features!)



By | November 13th, 2013|Categories: Discover and Explore|Tags: , , , |8 Comments

More than just a strawberry

At age two, learning begins with real life experiences. Well actually, for all preschool age children learning begins with real life experiences but for a  two year old, real life experiences are a critical part of bringing authentic meaning into the learning and skill building process..

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

My daughter has the most energy when it comes to giving my grandsons real life experiences. I like to tag along and take pictures and help out where I can. Today, we made our way to the strawberry patch…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

Kai already knew what a strawberry was but now he had the chance to see first hand and for the first time how a strawberry grows and how to pick it off the vine…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And while picking strawberries, we were able to use words like “pick, pull, stem, leaf” and other words related to strawberries and the strawberry patch. As my grandson would pick a strawberry, he would immediately want to “open it” meaning take off the stem so he could eat it…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And of course, a two year old is going to want to eat more than he actually puts in the box but we did manage to fill the box with enough strawberries to bring home for later…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

After we got home from the strawberry patch, mom got busy fixing dinner while I took Kai over to the classroom to make a paper strawberry…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

A paper strawberry isn’t nearly as interesting as a real strawberry but because we now had a connection to a real experience with strawberries, it was a good opportunity to introduce the concept of making something he now had an an immediate experience with…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

As I shared in my previous post, Kai has also already explored the use of glue just a bit. As soon as he saw the glue bottle go out on the table, he knew that he was going to get to squeeze that bottle and make the glue come out. I invited Kai to help me make a strawberry. As a reminder, I brought a few of our real strawberries over to the classroom with us to look at and talk about (and eat) as we made our paper strawberry…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

I showed Kai how to flip the paper over and pat it really good so the strawberry and the stem would stick to the white paper. I can tell you that each of these skills from dripping glue on the paper; flipping the paper over; patting the paper down; understanding that the glue will make the paper stick together; and painting fingerprints on the strawberry doesn’t have a lot of meaning to Kai yet but using the trip to the strawberry patch gave us the interest needed to “make a strawberry” which then allowed me to introduce these different skills and each of these processes will begin to make sense over time…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And after we completed our strawberry, Kai knew that he had made it himself and mommy (or I) had a fun keepsake to save from our day at the strawberry patch…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

If I were to tell you the moral of this story, it would be to make sure you connect real life experiences with the ideas you plan for your classroom. It is for this reason, as a teacher, it is a good idea to find out what kinds of things children are doing at home. Did anyone go to the zoo lately? Did anyone go to the strawberry patch? As you can find out what types of experiences your students have spent time on with their families, then you can build on those experiences in the classroom too…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Read and it and cook it  from Teach Preschool

Fourth of July Strawberries from Kids Activities Blog

Strawberry Week from Brenna Phillips

A little taste of science in the preschool classroom

All throughout the school year, I like to bring in real fruits and veggies for my students to explore. Whenever I can, I always start off our day by introducing the fruit or veggie I brought in and then invite the children to tell me what they already know about the item…

The children almost always begin by telling me what they think the name of the fruit or vegetable is and whether they do or do not like the taste. I try to invite other types of conversation as well by asking questions such as, “How do you think this will feel?” or  “smell?” or “taste?’ and “Where do you think this comes from?”  After a brief discussion, we almost always follow up by giving each child a little taste…

Lemons and limes are particularly interesting to introduce to the children because they invite so many different reactions and words. I usually only give my students just a drop of the juice on a finger to taste (as long as we have no cuts to be wary of) so they won’t over do it on the first try…

Not every child will volunteer to taste some of of the produce I bring in. That is okay by me. I offer and they get to choose. Whether they tasted a lemon or not, they enjoyed the experience of watching their friends make a funny face…

Part of the science experience in preschool is using your senses. We not only taste the lemons and limes, we touch, feel, and smell them too. Oh, and as far as our stuffed animal friends in these photos? I have no idea why every child was holding one that day but there were those days when this seemed to be a very popular idea so our animal friends would join us for circle time too…

After taking a few minutes to talk about and explore our fruits or veggies in circle time, then I like to extend the experience in some way in our classroom centers…

With our lemons and limes, we set them out with yellow and green paint to explore lemon and  lime painting.  The children were able to smell the juice from the lemons and limes as they painted…

Many of the children enjoyed mixing the yellow and green color to see if the two colors would make a new color…

For the most part, we discovered that yellow and green just make more green and that the smell of the lemon and lime was not all that strong after we mixed it with the paint…

There are other fruits and veggies we explored this past year too such as carrots….

And watermelons…

And pumpkins…

And oranges…

Fruits and vegetables create so many wonderful ways to explore science in the preschool classroom that are…

…meaningful, interesting, engaging, and real.

Available on Amazon

By | July 12th, 2012|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , |5 Comments

More read it and cook it!

As I have mentioned before, cooking is not one of my special gifts but I do like to cook and especially love to cook with my class. I still have plenty of cooking activities to share with you so here is a new set, along with children’s books, that we tried during this past school year…

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

To go along with the book,“The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear” by Don and Audrey Wood, we made strawberry-banana smoothies…

To make the smoothies, I gave each child a few strawberries and half of a banana to cut up with a plastic knife…

But once the children started cutting up the fruit, I realized that I can’t possibly put their fruit in the blender because they had all handled their own bananas and strawberries and there really was no way to rinse off all the germs…

So I told the children they could just eat up what they had cut up and I would slice up some fruit for our smoothies…

I haven’t ever made smoothies before so I just guessed at how much fruit, ice, and milk I should use in the blender. I added all the ingredients and the children got all excited and shouted loudly when we pushed the button to blend everything all up…

I wasn’t sure which button to push on the blender either. I am not quite sure what the difference between puree, chop, and the other settings are so I just picked one and hoped for the best.  Once the blending was complete, we poured each child a small cup of smoothie to taste…

Most of the children didn’t drink their smoothie. I kind of figured it was because they had already eaten so many bananas and strawberries but after I tasted the smoothie myself, I realized it was because the smoothie tasted like water with seeds in it. It actually looked great but had almost no flavor at all….

A Rainbow of My Own

To go with the book “A Rainbow of My Own” By Don Freeman, we made rainbow toast.  I already blogged about our rainbow toast which you can read about here. But we actually made rainbow toast twice….

The first time we made rainbow toast, I set out small paint brushes and the kids hated it. I was so surprised that they didn’t like painting their bread so I decided that it was because it took too long to really get any color on their bread with small paint brushes….

So the next time we tried it, I set out large paint brushes and they loved it!

 

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

To go with the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff, we made oatmeal cookies. Do you know how hard it is to make oatmeal cookies?

I used the recipe on the back of the oatmeal container and the children did a great job adding all the different ingredients but when it came to mixing them all together, that was a little tough…

I had one child work and work on trying to get the butter mixed in smoothly with the eggs but in the end, I had to mix that part up…

And when we went to add the dry ingredients, the mixture was so dry and crumbly that I am quite certain we left something out of this recipe but I was too disorganized by that time to know for sure what it was…

So I gave up and just let the kids think they were making oatmeal cookies. The oatmeal cookie mixture never made it into the oven…

Planting a Rainbow

To go along with the book “Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert, we made rainbow pudding. I had seen several photos of other people making rainbow pudding online and they looked beautiful so I definitely wanted to try this with my class…

I had the children split up into two separate groups and each group did a wonderful job mixing up the pudding…

Once the children had the pudding all mixed up, then we divided it into five bowls and added color to each bowl…

Then each child was given their own plastic cup to go down the line and spoon in each color of pudding to make their own cup of rainbow pudding…

The process went really well but our pudding cups did not look quite as beautiful as the ones I saw online…

Which tells me that either I did something wrong in this process or that the rainbow pudding cups I saw online were definitely not intended to be made by preschoolers…

I know – it kind of looks like a rainbow threw up in the cup but hey – our rainbow pudding cups may have not looked like lovely layers of rainbow pudding but they tasted yummy anyway!

About our cooking

  • Keep in mind that we don’t cook like this every day!
  • We cook up something special about once and sometimes twice a month.
  • We always wash hands before, during, and after cooking and do our very, very best to only touch our own food.
  • When we are not cooking, we eat simple snacks like crackers, cheese, apples, and other food items that really are not that interesting to blog about.

Leave a comment
If you have a favorite cooking activity, please leave a comment below – I would love to read all about it!

Links to grow on…

For more cooking ideas you can see the ones I have saved here on my  Pinterest Snack Board or here on Pinterest Cooking with Kids board too!

Read it and cook it (version one) from Teach Preschool

Check out the Snacks and Stories blog too!

Books on Amazon

And here are links to cookbooks on Amazon that I don’t own…

This post is linked to…..

By | March 21st, 2012|Categories: Children's Books, Cooking|Tags: , , , , |27 Comments

Exploring weight and size with scales in preschool

There are all kinds of simple scales you can provide for inviting children to explore weight. Set out a set of scales along with a variety of items for the children to explore and compare…

The bowls on the top of these scales come off which allows the children to easily fill the bowls then balance the bowls back on the scales and it also allows for the weighing of larger items like the fruit shown here…

The dial on the face of the scale allows the children to view the weight of the bowls or in this case the fruit that is inside the bowls…

Notice that this type of scale is best for measuring larger or heavier items.  I wanted to use these scales for weighing easter eggs, but it takes quite a few easter eggs to make the dial move as this scale identifies pounds better than ounces….

So I added some jelly beans inside the eggs and decided the children could weigh jelly beans and plastic eggs…

Scales are a terrific addition to a math or science center. Scales allow opportunity for young children to compare, predict, count, and measure.

Check out this measuring activity too!

By | April 21st, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , , , , , |6 Comments