In a previous post (http://wp.me/p2OomI-Tj), I wrote about the book Language Lessons for Little Ones, Volume 1 by Sandi Queen (https://www.queenshomeschooling.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=60_61&zenid=af9a80aedf01b3ca304ffaa5dbbd6515). In the book, we were instructed to do a picture study and discuss this copy of a painting:
Here is an excerpt of our discussion of the above picture (we also discussed what she was wearing, if the girl had long or short hair, boy vs. girl, what she saw behind the girl, pulled out a globe and found France, etc.):
Me: “What is the little girl holding?”
Beth: “A Bowl”
Me: I decided to roll with it, since she was having trouble getting the words out at the time, and I didn’t want to discourage her. A bowl it was. “What is in the bowl?”
Me: “Well, she has a spoon in the bowl. Hmmm…What do you think she poured into the bowl?”
Me: “What will the girl cook? Vegetables?”
Me: “What do you think she will cook in the oven?”
Beth’s answers are consistent with her experiences. Starting from when Beth was around 2.5 years old, she would insist “Want Flour! Want Flour!” and we would give her a bowl of flour to play with on the floor of the kitchen. It was a freaking mess, but it was like an edible sand to her. And since she ate sand, it was a good alternative for that type of sensory play. Now, at 5 years old, Beth has progressed to only using flour during cooking, but she still takes swipes and eats some. When we cook with flour, the thing we bake most often is cookies.
Maisy Makes Gingerbread
Cooking is wonderful natural occupational therapy, and we have been doing it for years. I want to expand off the picture study with a cooking experience, so I go to the pantry and find some Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cake and Cookie Mix. Then I remember one of Beth’s favorite Maisy the mouse books, Maisy Makes Gingerbread (http://www.amazon.com/Maisy-Makes-Gingerbread-storybooks/dp/0744572185/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375351879&sr=1-1&keywords=Maisy+Makes+Gingerbread). And soon we are on our way to a whole day lesson in baking and working together in the kitchen.
Maisy Makes Gingerbread is a great process-oriented book for young children. Maisy is shown in her kitchen getting ready to cook, getting out the ingredients, mixing, cutting the cookies out, putting them in the oven, cleaning up, and, finally, eating them with friends. We read the book together and start to make the gingerbread cookies.
First Beth cuts open the bag of mix (I hold it for her), helps me measure and add the ingredients (just the mix, water, and butter), and she helps me stir it all up to make the dough.
Next, we coat the dough with flour (Beth takes a few swipes) and roll it out. This was the first time Beth did a majority of the rolling on her own. We just roll directly on a clean counter and we usually make a hug mess that I ignore until the end. What is important is to keep the process flow going so that Beth can connect the pieces of the process together.
Now it is time for cutting little gingerbread men. It is at this point that Beth can’t help herself, and eats some of the dough. The good thing about the Betty Crocker Cake and Cookie Mix recipe is it has no eggs, so sampling is not a worry. It has taken her years, but now Beth can push the cookie cutter in the dough, wiggle to loosen the dough from the surface, pull the cutter up, and poke the dough out of the cookie cutter. Transferring the cookies onto the cookie sheet is still a big challenge, but we will get there.
The finished product (frost if desired):
Although Beth likes the dough, the cookies are not as appealing. So, she just has frosting instead, which is a favorite treat of hers (we call it a cupcake without the frosting):
Maisy Makes Lemonade
As Beth is downing her frosting, I start thinking about other Maisy books that are processed-oriented, such as Maisy Makes Lemonade (http://www.amazon.com/Maisy-Makes-Lemonade-Lucy-Cousins/dp/0763617296/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375321653&sr=8-1&keywords=Maisy+Make+Lemonade). I thought it would be a great drink to make on the hot summer day, and a good way to wash down the cookies (or frosting).
Like Maisy Makes Gingerbread, Maisy Makes Lemonade is a great process-oriented book. Maisy is shown being hot in summer, drinking all her lemonade and needed more, getting lemons from a tree, squeezing them with a friend, adding the other ingredients, and then drinking it with a friend.
I grab a recipe off the web (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_lemonade/) and we head to the store to pick up organic lemons and a cheap hand juicer (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hand%20juicer&sprefix=hand+j%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahand%20juicer). Shopping is a lesson in and of itself, and we have had a long history with it (http://wp.me/p2OomI-Nx). I am happy to report she is now doing outstanding in stores and no longer needs the vest, lots of edibles, or an electronic grocery list. She seems to love shopping now!
We read Maisy Makes Lemonade and set up to make our own:
Beth helps with the measuring and pouring, and samples the sugar and lemons.
The juicer is hard for her to use on her own, but we will work up to that.
Time to clean up the huge mess in the kitchen. I would have read Maisy Cleans Up (http://www.amazon.com/Maisy-Cleans-Up-Lucy-Cousins/dp/0763617121/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375349347&sr=8-1&keywords=maisy+cleans+up) before we clean together, but it didn’t quite fit our kind of cleaning since it mentions using a vacuum (which terrifies Beth), mopping the floor (which I try to avoid whenever possible), and washing windows (which would be pointless, since all the double pane windows in our condo have broken seals and an opaque film between them, plus we have Beth’s bedroom window covered with foam insulation to block out street noise and light).