Our sensory tub for this unit was VERY messy and had to be relocated outside. We were "baking" with bowls full of all- purpose flour, measuring cups, teaspoons, sifters, whisks, and more. The kids loved the powdery texture of the flour and they got very dusty despite the over-sized paint smocks. It was wonderful to hear all the cooking language being used and interesting recipes being created. We even had to designate a specific rock to be our "oven". When the flour started to dwindle and the temperatures dropped I broke out the gingerbread scented play dough and we learned how to make Christmas cookies using rolling pins, cookie sheets, and cookie cutters.
We converted the classroom kitchen into a bakery for a week and practiced baking, selling, and consuming delicious treats. We wrote down bakery orders, practiced writing bakery menus, packed up treats in to go bags, and even set the table for a few birthday parties complete with cookies and cupcakes. After learning how to pretend bake we all worked together to bake an apple cake. The kids loved helping me measure out all the ingredients and turn on the mixer. We talked about the purpose of a recipe and what might happen if you don't follow the directions. Baking is such a great way to incorporate all the things we practice in preschool on a daily basis...counting, measuring, taking turns, reading, and following multistep directions. The cake turned out great.
Finally before the holidays we spent some time working on patterns by looking at different candy canes. We made our own patterns by threading red, white, and green beads onto pipe cleaners and then twisted them into circles or candy cane hooks. This was great practice for our little fingers and it is really neat to see how every kid is at a different place with their pattern creating abilities. Younger kids were watching the older students create harder patterns while the older kids were helping and encouraging younger students to transfer their pattern onto their pipe cleaner correctly. Sometimes the benefits of a multiage classroom are easy to see!
We ended our unit with a fun little Gingerbread Party and decorated gingerbread houses with lots of delicious treats. Thank you to everyone for donating. More learning to come in 2014!