Food preparation is not only a fun, engaging activity for children, but one that can be used for years as an important teaching and development tool for all ages. For one thing, hands-on cooking activities encourage a sense of pride and confidence.
The act of following a recipe can encourage self-direction and independence, while also teaching children to follow directions and use thinking skills to problem solve. Working with food also inspires children’s curiosity, thinking, and problem solving, offering new opportunities to make predictions and observations.
Additionally, creating snacks offers authentic opportunities for students to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, one-to-one correspondence, numbers, and counting. As they follow a recipe, children organize ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple directions.
Lastly, chopping, squeezing, mixing, and spreading materials help develop a child’s small muscle control and hand-eye coordination. For this activity, we used a few ingredients to create a medieval stew (a staple in most medieval homes).
We used a variety of beans, and placed them into bowls! Once we were finished, we pretended to eat up our yummy creations!
March is Medieval Month! This means that we are learning about all things royal!
Throughout the month, we have been learning about castles, peasants, lords, and ladies. We have learning about how they live, what they live in, and what they wear.
As part of our royalty week, we constructed crowns using play dough and jewels.
Students enjoyed manipulating their jewels, and were encouraged to count them once all applied.
Block play is a great way to build skills that we ordinarily think of as academic or school-related.
Blocks are especially beneficial when children are allowed to freely explore and manipulate the blocks in a variety of engaging ways. Children’s creativity is further expanded through encouragement to make their own accessories from throw away junk items.
When it comes to blocks, it’s all in their imaginations.. As part of our medieval theme, we spent one week learning about castles. During this week, we constructed castles with a variety of different materials. For this one specifically, we created castles out of golden cups. Students were encouraged to create their structures, and then once finished, to count them.
Provocations are materials or the way we present materials to create a context where the child can explore.
They are designed to encourage to extend their thinking.
Provocations provide a challenge to move children to deeper levels of critical thinking of how to design their structures and how to expand into more complex play.
For this provocation, students were presented with regular blocks, castle blocks, and toilet paper tubes.
Students were encouraged to construct their “castles” as part of our medieval theme.
Cobblestone roads have been used to fulfill transportation needs since ancient times. They appealed to medieval residents because of their durability in harsh weather. Though they were poorly maintained, they provided an integral component to medieval life. To facilitate our understanding of what a cobblestone road is, we created our own! Using cardboard for our roads, glue, and wood pieces as our “stones”, your little one constructed their own version of a cobblestone road. By fabricating their own roads, your little one was applying their awareness of what a cobblestone road is, and how it functions. Doing this also enabled them to practice a variety of skills imperative to their educational repertoire. By manipulating the “stones” they were practicing physical and cognitive skills. As they arranged them within the scope of a predetermined shape, they were learning spatial skills, logical and mathematical skills. Lastly, it encouraged creative thinking on account of the planning that was involved.
The people of the medieval ages did not enjoy water as we do today. Most citizens received their water from wells and other communal sources. This water was almost always tainted with bacteria, caused by human waste and poor sanitation. To compensate, people would add alcohol, honey, and other fruits to the water to make it “cleaner” for consumption. Using honey, limes, and water, we created our own version of mead. Before we began this activity, we discussed what germs were and how important it is to exercise proper hygiene. Your budding historian also learned about why medieval water was so dirty, and how they can ensure cleanliness in their own lives. When young children are active in creating their learning experiences, they foster meaningful connections between new information and their understanding of it. This is an important component in the capacity to problem solve. As they add and manipulate levels of ingredients, they amplify their ability to think creatively, as they create new and unique combinations of ideas and materials.
Medieval shields were designed to protect a knight or “soldier” from their enemies. They were also used as weapons throughout the middle ages. Learning how to manipulate a shield required years of training, aimed at increasing skills such as strength and agility. These weapons of war were also decorated with symbols that served to identify the knight, both in tournaments, and on the battle field. Using foil, cardboard, and glue, we created our own shields! This activity hosted a variety of developmental skills. As your child placed the foil on the cardboard, they practiced their fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. As they arranged the foil on the shield, they engaged their ability to manipulate space.
Fine motor activities develop slowly in young children. Because of this, it is imperative that they are constantly exposed to experiences that enable them to practice these important skills. They are an important precursor to writing. Using jewels and worksheets, your little one placed jewels to make the letter K!
Custard tarts first emerged in Britain during the middle ages. They were a popular treat among people of all classes, and were flavored in several different ways. To enable your budding historian to grasp a better understanding of the middle ages, we explored the ingredients in this tasty treat. Using crumpets, jam, cream cheese, and plastic knives, we made our own custard tarts! When young children are given opportunities to prepare food, they are practicing a host of important life skills. When they are given the ingredients to create their masterpiece, they are practicing listening skills. As they are instructed to add ingredients to create their treat, they are learning order of operations. Lastly, as they learn about new foods, they are acquiring new vocabulary, which promotes literacy.