My classroom of preschoolers is huddled around me as we read our visual list of ingredients and take turns carefully measuring. 20 minutes later when our cornbread is pulled out of the oven they are bouncing around me excited to take their first bites.
Baking with children, whether in a group setting or in a classroom, is not necessarily a simple or tidy activity but it’s rewards overflow. The math skills, social skills, literacy skills, and self help skills embedded in a simple cooking activity alone make it worth the effort. The proud smiles and delicious results are just icing on the cake.
This story time was inspired by a fun story about a cookie, but at it’s heart it is to encourage more baking with kids. Read, sing, play, and then start mixing!
Baking Story Time
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Note: Our story times always have the same parts; We start with a hello song. Next, I read 2-3 books about a topic with a rhyme/song and group activity that works on a developmental goal in between each book. We end with a goodbye song and then head to the table. At the table there is an invitation of some sort that works on another one of the developmental skills they are building. These elements are all listed below so you can move them around into whatever order works for you!
Books about Baking
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
The featured book this week for The Virtual Book Club for Kids is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. It’s a fun read aloud and playful look at cause and effect. What happens when you give a mouse a cookie? It turns out you will go on quite an adventure.
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
This is another classic read aloud. Some kids sit down for a snack (cookies!!) and they have just divided them in half when the doorbell rings…and then rings again….and again. I never thought it was possible for fractions to be fun until I read this book. Sharing, dividing, and friendship – a timeless story.
Sand Cake by Frank Asch
We love all of the Moon Bear stories. This time Bear is at the beach. With a little imagination and a lot of sand he crafts some cakes for his dad. Despite the fact that no actual baking ingredients are used in the making of a sand cake – the traditional ingredients are discussed in the story. As always, Frank Asch captures the tender, every day moments of a little one and their parent in this sweet book.
Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming
Jack is thrilled to get invited to the princesses birthday party, but he has nothing to give her as a gift. He decides to bake a cake and bakes quite an elaborate one. Unfortunately, on his way to the party it gets picked apart by the various characters along his path until all he is left with is a good story. Fleming creatively weaves familiar storybook characters with an exciting plot and a strong message about gift giving. Karas graces the story with whimsical illustrations that elevate the fairy tale flavor of the story. A cake. An adventure. What more could you really ask for?
Songs/Rhymes + Group Activities about Baking
Pat-a-Cake (Tune and Lyrics Here)
Who Took the Cookie (Super Simple Songs)
The Goodbye Train is Leaving. (Watch on YouTube) from Jbrary
Table Invitations about Baking
After story time we head to the table. Sometimes I have multiple activities set up at different stations and sometimes we do one activity. This is the activity that was at our Math Station for our Baking Story Time. In this case, I sat at the table to help facilitate the activity while the other activities were more child directed.
Simple Cookie Addition for Preschoolers
Number Manipulatives (We used the ones from our IKEA puzzle, this set would also work)
Plus, Minus, and Equals Symbols (all optional) – ours were created by writing symbols on rocks with a sharpie.
There are probably countless ways you can do this, but here is how we played the Simple Cookie Addition game with five year olds.
To set up, I started with an empty tray and the cookies and numbers we scattered around the table.
- I asked the kids how many people were at the table. They told me and then helped to find that number on the table. Then we “baked” that number of cookies and each at one. This reinforced basic one-to-one counting and number recognition.
- Then I asked how many boys were at the table – they found that number. And how many girls – found that number. I demonstrated what an addition sentence would look like to describe our new numbers. Boys + Girls = Total using the numbers and rocks with symbols on them. We repeated the baking and eating play part. This introduced addition and equations.
- Last, we divided people at the table by another variable (in our case wearing blue and not wearing blue). This one you will have to decide based on what factors you have available to sort people into. We repeated the same parts as #2 but this time they talked me through building the equation.
With toddlers and younger preschoolers, skip the addition step. Simple have them practice counting, baking, and handing out one cookie to each person. You could add people or subtract people to change the numbers. What if they just made cookies for the teddy bears or parents or people wearing red?
For this age group, keep the addition information by only talking about the numbers and using the words “plus” or “add” but not actually using the symbols or creating the equations.
With older kids, I would encourage them to come up with their own problems and create their own equations. I would also probably include subtraction. For instance, once they give the cookies to the boys how many are left for the girls? You could also make it more complicated by encouraging them to give each person 2 or 3 cookies.
My Virtual Book Club for Kids co-hosts have some more great table invitations and other activities to inspire more baking related learning.
Cookie Spelling from Teach Beside Me
Baking with Kids in the Kitchen + Pretend Play from Mama Smiles
Easy Homemade Dog Donuts from Sunny Day Family
Visual Recipe for Cookies from Inspiration Laboratories
Felt Cookie Decorating Busy Bag from Views From a Step Stool