A love for teaching young children

Supporting parents in the educating of their child

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

ECE Food Crafting Experiences for preschool children to enjoy



Spooky houses?

Sure! Sounds fun! 

What about to eat? huh? oh, no!!!!

Have a conversation with your group about frosting, candy, plastic knives, etc. are your tools for the activity and they are not to lick their fingers or knives while assembling your food creation. As one who did food experiences exactly like these with 3s, 4s, and 5s and also as a certified grades 6-12 FACS/home economics teacher with 9 years experience teaching culinary arts, please make sure to find ways to involve each child and have all supplies available and near the work area before beginning. Those little ones will be bouncing up and down in their chairs!!! They will be so excited!

These photos are not from my experiences with preschool but have been gleaned from the internet and look more professionally done than what finished food crafting with little ones will look like. Don't fret, however. In their eyes, they've helped create a masterpiece and they will also just as quickly will want to eat and destroy it. 

That's half the fun, I think. The other half is the playful learning and building of skills that will be occurring. Fine motor skills will be strengthened when using plastic knives to frost or cut and when placing candy or cookie particles in different places. Safety concepts and skills will be reinforced when setting up and proceeding through the food crafting experience. Make sure to state real world science safety and observation skills connections while children are working. While eating, take time to question the children about sizes of different food pieces that were used for more math skills besides any measuring or counting while assembling.

Isn't this snake almost too cute to eat?!?!?! My four-year-olds did a snake or caterpillar looking creation using Twinkies for sections with green-tinted vanilla frosting to cover the outsides of each Twinkie. So each child got to unwrap one, frost it, and place it on the display tray.

Way back when working with three-year-olds for a pre-Father's Day activity, we crafted a car using a purchased pound cake for our base with a little bit of carving out, a blue-frosted graham cracker became the front windshield, and we also had chocolate-covered mini doughnuts for tires. Our car's exterior was red-tinted frosting. And I think we had black string licorice pieces to resemble wipers for our front windshield!

This is a yummy chocolate-y haunted house! Working with a group of 3 1/2 year olds, our spooky dilapidated house was made with a purchased pound cake, Swiss Cake Rolls or Ho-Hos for corner type rounded towers, crumbled Shredded Wheat cereal for dried grass, malted milk balls served as decorative stone pieces to top the corner towers, and a chocolate frosted sugar wafer cookies for the front door.

Remember with this type of food crafting of desserts, frosting is the "glue" to hold all your bits and pieces together...well, at least long enough hopefully to snap a picture and hear the oohs and ahs from the children!!!

Another tip is don't be a perfectionist when food crafting with early childhood learners. This is a playful learning opportunity for them to build fine motor, math, and science skills.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

ECE weather symbols and name alliterations

Social-emotional development= check

Sounds and letters with alliterations= check

Weather unit for early science learning= check

Another idea from my daycare employment years about 17-21 years ago that is still brilliant and super easy to implement. I did this with 4s and this simple idea was such a treat for them that they spent the rest of day wanting to be re-introduced to everyone with their new names! So here were a few weather symbols that were creatively used:

Lightning Lucas

Sunny Sara

Windy Will

and then for me

Rainy Rebecca

There were more children in the group, so more weather symbols to adopt and name tags to make. Self-images and confidence blossomed right before my eyes. The children's chatter centered around weather terms and symbols led to interesting discussions and expanding the theme for a few extra days due to their enthusiasm. Hurray for science! Reviewing some of the alphabet through the first letters of each child's name plus mine was cleverly achieved with the alliteration. Win. Win. Win. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

ECE Food Experience for Jams and Jellies

J is for jam. J is for jelly.

Yum! A delicious activity that combine early math and science concepts of graphing and evaluating through taste.

peach preserves = orange construction paper

grape jelly = purple construction paper

strawberry jelly = red construction paper

apple jelly = yellow or amber construction paper

These are the 4 choices I have used that get great participation from all the students. It also helps to have 4 so that their slice of toast or fresh white bread can have a teaspoon of a different one in each corner.

*simple graphing worksheet
or large easel paper and marker to create a large class graph (if so, student name should be on their paper squares)
*1 construction paper square of each color of jam/jelly for each child
*adhesive (glue stick or tape)
*plastic spoons (4)
*plastic knives (# of children in your group)
*1 jar peach preserves
*1 jar grape jelly
*1 jar strawberry jelly
*1 jar apple jelly
*paper plates to help contain crumbs and sticky mess (# of children in your group)
*container of wipes to also help with sticky messes
*toaster, unless your kitchen cook is able to toast bread for your group (safety-wise, remember if used in classroom, it should be placed high on a counter away from where the children are sitting)
*white bread slices (# = # of children in your group)

I think that's it. I've done this with 4 year olds and I've even done a variation with 7th graders in an introductory FACS class.