Storytime Spotlight: C is for Cake & Cookies (Family Time)

As mentioned in my earlier toddler post, I try to share an alphabet or color-themed storytime once a month because it’s such a great opportunity to ask open-ended questions.  I bring in a group of objects for the kids to talk about and compare how they are the same and different.  This month we did a storytime based on all the delicious different things that start with Letter C: cupcakes, cookies, carrots and cake!

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There were so many fun books to choose from, I couldn’t stick to just ONE family storytime plan… I had to make TWO!  They were both so much fun and I got to try lots of new things, so I’m glad I put in the extra work.


Letter C Family Time, Take One

*Sing: My Hands Say Hello

*Welcome & Set Expectations

Theme Introduction

When I reached into my book bag for our first book, what did I discover instead?  A big green hat!

…What?  It’s not a hat?  What is it?  A bowl?  Silly me!  🙂  I also pulled out some new shoes (oven mitts) and a mixing spoon.  The kiddos loved correcting my silliness and then we talked about what these objects could be used for.  How are they all the same?  They’re used for baking, of course!

Fingerplay: Baking Chant

First we add the milk and we pour it, we pour it.

Then we add the eggs and we crack them, we crack them.

Then we add the butter and we smash it, we smash it.

Then we add the flour and we shake it, we shake it.

Then we add the sugar and we pinch it, we pinch it.

Then we take a spoon and we mix it, we mix it.

Then we take out a pan and we pour it, we pour it.

Then we put it in the oven and we bake it, we bake it.

Then we add the frosting and we spread it, we spread it.

Then we cut a piece and we eat it, we eat!

_____

Credit: inspired by Dr. Jean’s Making Cookies Chant

Please note I’ve never actually baked a cake… some steps and ingredients may be missing or in the wrong order.  🙂

This was such a fun chant!  We stopped before the last two verses, set a timer, and and pulled out our first story to read while we waited for our cake to bake.

Read: The Red Hen by Rebecca and Ed Emberley

They LOVED the rhythm and repetition in this story!  This was my first time reading this book and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.  Definitely our favorite read of the morning.

Sing: Can’t Wait to Celebrate by Jim Gill

We finished reading our story, but the timer was still going strong!  Sometimes it can be so hard to wait… good thing I know a song to help us pass the time!  I also shared with my grown-ups that I love stop and go songs because they help children build self-control.  Self-regulation is something this particular group of mine really struggles with, so I try to look for lots of ways to incorporate opportunities for practice in storytime.

Flannel: I’m a Little Birthday Cake

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to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”

I’m a little birthday cake, short and stout.

But I need some candles to blow out!

If you have a BLUE candle, please come up

And put your candles right on top!

(repeat with other colors)

____

Credit: original

At last, our cake was baked and ready to serve!  This was my first time using a flannel with pieces to bring up to the board with this particular group, and I’m pretty impressed by how well they did.  After we added all the candles, we counted them and blew them out.

*Sing: If You’re Ready for a Story

Early Literacy Tip: Print Motivation

Grown-ups, research shows that when children choose their own books, they’re more likely to enjoy them!  Liking books is important because learning to read is hard work and takes a lot of motivation.  When you let your child choose their own books and read favorite books over and over again, you’re giving them the positive experience with books that they need to learn how to read.

Read: The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson

I wish the crowd had picked our Jan Thomas book instead, but oh well.  This one went over fairly well, but it was a bit too long for my younger friends to follow.

Fingerplay: Cookie Chant

Cookie, cookie, in the pan.
Cookie, cookie, in my hand.
Cookie, cookie, hot to hold!
Cookie with a glass of milk cold.
Cookie, cookie, my tum.
Cookie, cookie, yum, yum, yum!

_____

Credit: original

My kiddos really enjoyed the pat-clap pumpkin chant from Jbrary a few months ago, so I’ve been coming up with additional themed versions.  They make for great transitions in between books.

Read: It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

We are fortunate enough to own a big book copy of this title in my library.  It was the perfect finale for our baking celebration!

Sing: Milkshake by Old Town School of Folk Music (shakers)

*Learning Through Play


Letter C Family Time, Take Two

*Sing: My Hands Say Hello

*Welcome & Set Expectations

Theme Introduction

Do you smell something?  I think I smell something delicious… it’s coming from my storytime bag!  Let’s take a look!

Upon opening my bag, we found a cookie, a cupcake, a chocolate cake, and a carrot.  We discussed different ways to group them (by color, by things with frosting and without) and how they are the same and different (all edible).  The kiddos weren’t making the Letter C connection, so I suggested we say all the words out loud again and listen closely for the first sound, and then they got it!

Fingerplay: Open, Shut Them

Open, shut them, open, shut them,
Give a little clap, clap, clap.
Open, shut them, open, shut them,
Put them in your lap, lap, lap.

Creep them, crawl them,
Creep them, crawl them,
Right up to your chin, chin, chin.
Open up your little mouth,
But do not let them in!

____

Credit: traditional

Read: Keep Running, Gingerbread Man by Steve Smallman

Not my favorite version of this story, but the repetition goes over well and I do like that the gingerbead man gets away.

Sing: See the Little Cookies Baking

See the little cookies baking in the oven hot!

They’ll be ready in a moment when the timer stops.

I can’t wait

To celebrate.

Cookies bake…

BEEEEEEEP!

Run, little cookies, run, run, run, run!

Run, little cookies, run, run, run, run!

Run, little cookies, run, run, run, run!

Run so you don’t end up in a tum!

____

Credit: adapted from “Sleeping Bunnies” by Kathy Reid-Naiman

My kiddos LOVE the “See the Little Bunnies Sleeping…” song, so I come up with a lot of different fun variations for us.  This week we used our scarves as baking sheets to lay down on.  I forgot to bring my kitchen timer, so the grown-ups helped out by pretending to be the oven alarm.

Our first time through, I asked the kiddos if they wanted to get eaten after we popped out of the oven.  One very enthusiastic little girl shouted “YES!” but most of us agreed we didn’t want to be munched on.  🙂

Sing: The Chocolate Chip Twist by Music Monkey Jungle

This was such a fun song to do with scarves!  You can see Music Monkey Jungle on Youtube do the full song here:

Activity: Cookie Comparison

I passed out two cookies to everyone and encouraged caregivers to compare the cookies with their child before our next activity, giving them the opportunity to practice what I had modeled in the beginning.  How are the same?  How are they different?  Are they the same shape?  Do they have any similar ingredients?  Have you ever tasted this cookie before?  Next time I’m going to put these suggested questions on a poster so parents have some visual help!

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After allowing some time for discussion and checking in with various families around the room, we sang a simple song:

To the tune of “Mary Wore Her Red Dress”

If you have a sugar cookie, sugar cookie, sugar cookie

If you have a sugar cookie, bring it to the jar!

(repeat with various cookies)

This is such a fun song and easy to adapt.  You could easily sing about physical characteristics or qualities instead (e.g. if you have a round cookie, if you have a frosted cookie).

Early Literacy Tip: Print Motivation

Grown-ups, research shows that when children choose their own books, they’re more likely to enjoy them!  Liking books is important because learning to read is hard work and takes a lot of motivation.  When you let your child choose their own books and read favorite books over and over again, you’re giving them the positive experience with books that they need to learn how to read.

Read: Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? by Karen Beaumont

Definitely our favorite book!  Before we read this story, I pulled out my kangaroo puppet friend with a joey in her pocket and activated some background knowledge.  This story makes an even more fun flannel set- check out the wonderful Miss Mary’s version here!

We were running short on time by this point, so we didn’t make it to our third book.

Sing: Milkshake by Old Town School of Folk Music (shakers)

*Learning Through Play


*Please visit this page to learn more about my regular storytime songs and routines.

I’m pretty pleased with how both of these family times played out!  I can’t wait to do this fun theme again in the future.

Did I miss your favorite baking song or book?  How do you like to celebrate the sweet treats of the season?  Please leave a comment and let me know!  🙂

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