Friday, May 22, 2015

Flannel Friday: The Goat in the Turnips

I made this flannel some time ago and I can't remember where I got the original story. If anyone knows, please tell me! 

Once there was a little boy who was taking care of a goat. The naughty goat gets into the turnip patch and won't come out. 

A dog comes to help, but he can't get the goat out either. Neither can the fox. 

Not even the big bear can manage it!

Nope, it is the smallest of all, the bee, who stings the goat and the goat comes running out of the turnip patch. 

Which goes to show you: sometimes it's the smallest one who can do the biggest thing. 

I add some drama to it (every time someone fails to get the goat out, they all sit down and cry big boo hoo hoos, which always makes the children laugh) and every animal has some dialogue about how big and strong they are and therefore cannot fail. They, of course, mock the tiny bee before he proves himself. 

This is also a flannel where I cut out the outlines in felt and did all of the details in puff paint. I've been there, adding tiny dot eyes after having done all the other puff paint and praying that I don't screw it up now! Don't talk to me about living on the edge!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sweet Snacks: Chocolate Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the last Sweet Snacks of the spring session, we made Chocolate Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches. And yes, it was as good as it sounds. 

I used Alton Brown's recipe to make the chocolate waffles. I only made half a recipe at time which made about 6 waffles. (How did I halve the called-for three eggs? One egg and a yolk. It seemed to work ok.)

Here's what you need: 

We mixed the dry ingredients: 

Then the wet ingredients: 

Then we mixed them together and took them over to the waffle irons. I was lucky to have two of these; I borrowed one from another staff member. 

Chocolate waffles:

To add the ice cream, I took a container of Edy's Slow Churned, put it on its side, and used a big knife to cut about half an inch off the top of the container. I popped out the resulting round of ice cream and placed it between the two waffles.  

The ice cream, halfway through the program. It's been cut down a little bit at this point...
I cut the resulting ice cream sandwiches into triangles and TA DA!: ice cream sandwiches for everyone!

I chose to do a recipe that had a lot of ingredients so that everyone would get a chance to measure something and mix it in. You could also, I presume, use regular just-add-water waffle mix, but that doesn't seem as exciting. Even with all the ingredients that went in to this and making two sandwiches (four waffles) per group, it only took about 20 minutes per group of ten. I love how many times I hear "oh, hey, we can make this at home!"

Verdict: yummy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cake Decorating for Tweens

Here's a program I did with my tweens a few weeks ago: Cake Decorating. We've done cupcakes before (I showed them some fun piping techniques and we went to town) but this was an entirely different ballgame. 

But before I go on, here's my warning. This one is neither cheap nor easy, but holy smackers is it fun and worth it. I had kids from 8 to 13 and they LOVED it. 

Here's what we did. 

Before the program, I baked 10 cakes from a mix. That's right, ten. (I used a cake mix, which made it easier, but still...)

I put icing on five of the cakes and stacked the other five on top, giving me five two-layer cakes. I cut those cakes into mostly square pieces (each cake gave me about 8 squares, give or take) and put those on small cake boards. Then I spread icing on the outside and top of each square so the fondant would have something to stick to. 

Granted, you could probably just make five cakes and split them into squares, but I really wanted the kids to be able to decorate the sides of the cake as well and you need a double layer to get enough space for that. 

I then put green frosting into piping bags. One of the bags had a writing frosting tip and the other had a grass frosting tip. I made about 8 grass tipped bags and 6 writing tipped bags for everyone to share. The favorite was definitely the grass one - I should have made more of those. 

Then it was time for the program. I put out parchment paper and a cake square at each place and spread fondant tools, rolling pins, scissors, paintbrushes for the fondant glue, fondant glue, and the frosting bags evenly across the tables. 

Once the kids arrived, they received several different colors of fondant. They rolled white fondant to cover their cake. Then I showed them how to use purple and pink to make a snail and green to make a frog. There was also yellow fondant for flowers and embellishments. 

Snail and frog pre-icing. 
They placed their snail and their frog on their cakes and then got creative with the frosting making grass, vines, and whatever else they could think of. I walked around giving hints and helping execute their ideas. One of the boys (that's right, the BOYS) actually showed the kids around him how to make roses!

Here are some of the results: 

The roses. He figured this out by himself!
Someone used the fondant to make a butterfly. 
Fondant flowers. 
Getting creative with vines and flowers. 

It was great fun and the kids had a blast decorating their own small cakes. The results were stunning and, it was reported to me later, delicious. 

Preschool Science: Extreme Weather

This week for Preschool Explorers we tackled Extreme Weather. 

I started by reading When a Storm Comes up: a Rookie Read-aloud. 

This book turned out to be perfect because it was just the right level and length and it hit on every major type of storm, as did the stations I had set up. Only problem was the trim size, but I had a small group and everyone got to see the pictures. 


Station #1: Tornadoes!
Based on this link, we made tornadoes in a jar. I put out empty gelato containers, a bowl of water, and a bottle of dish soap. The kids added water to the containers, squirted in some dish soap, closed the container and shook it. Voila! Tornado in a jar. This particular experiment worked even better after the jars had been sitting for a while, so kids came back to this one a couple times. 

Station #2: Thunderstorms!
This station had three parts. 

First: the clouds. I brought bars of Ivory soap (it HAS to be Ivory soap, don't try it with anything else!) and cut them in fourths. The kids put down a piece of waxed paper in the microwave and microwaved the soap chunks for 30 seconds. Instant clouds. For more information and awesome pictures, check this out. Extra bonus: the kids love the buttons on the microwave. 

Part two: Rain in a jar. I put out some more empty gelato containers, some watercolor paint, a can of shaving cream and some water. The kids put water in their jar and then added a shaving cream cloud. Using the droppers, they put watercolor into the cloud until they could see it "raining" underneath.

The eyedroppers are everyone's favorite thing, so they barely watched it rain before adding more and more color, but the idea was fun. For a great picture of the actual jar thunderstorm, look here. (I chose not to use the paperclips).

Part three: Lightning. The idea is simple: blow up a balloon, rub it on your head, go to a dark room and touch the balloon with a spoon. You should be able to see the static electricity, which is what lightning is (on a much bigger scale, of course). This station was most unfortunately a dud. We used the supply closet (which the kids always want to go into anyway) and we managed to hear the spark, but never actually saw it. Despite this, everyone enjoyed rubbing the balloon on their head and then having it stick to them. So we had that going for us. I got the idea from here.

Station #3: Hurricanes!
I challenged the kids to build a house that would withstand hurricane-force winds. They had blocks, sponges, cotton balls, playdough, and popsicle sticks. When they had built something, they turned on the fan to see if it would blow over. Some of the kids used the playdough to stabilize the blocks, which I thought was a genius idea. (And, thank god, they cleaned it up before they left so I could still think it was a genius idea).

Station #4: Floods
I put out small trays, rocks, sugar cubes, and small toys. The challenge was to put sugar cubes and a rock in the tray, then put a small toy on top of each. When water was poured in, which toy got wet first? 

Of course I expected the sugar to dissolve first (which it eventually did), but it took too long to really appreciate. The kids ended up playing with the toys and knocking them in to the water and crushing the sugar cubes with the toys. Since no mess was made, I figured why not? They are still exploring dissolving and flood waters rising, so more power to them. 

This particular theme was very well received. Many participants did the stations more than once and while some themes have them leaving within 20 minutes. I actually had some stay almost an hour to explore. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Flannel Friday: How Will We Get to the Beach?

Here's a fun guessing game just ready for summer based on How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani.

I actually only have the Spanish version of this at my library and I loved that the character's name was Rosana, so I keep that even though I tell the story in English. If you prefer, you can go with Roxanne, as per the English version. 

Also, I called the little baby Baby George. (Although maybe I should switch to Baby Charlotte...?)

At any rate. Back to the story. 

Rosana wants to go to the beach. Here are the things she wants to take with her: her umbrella, her big purple ball, her turtle, her big story book, and her little Baby George. 

But when they get in the car to go to the beach, the car won't start! So she tries to go on a bike.

But there's something that doesn't fit on the bike. Do you know what it is?

The big purple ball!

So she tries to go by skateboard...

But something won't fit on the skateboard! Do you know what it is?

The umbrella!

So she tries a bus...

... which doesn't allow animals. 

And a canoe...

...but the book would get wet. 

And a hot air balloon...

... but that's too scary for Baby George. 

So she finally loads everything onto a cart and the friendly horse pulls the cart all the way to the beach where they have a marvelous time.  

I tested this story out in Preschool Story Time yesterday and the kids were very good at guessing which piece was missing without even checking my hands to see if they could see what I was still holding. 

This could possibly pair with The Rattletrap Car and could work for a transportation storytime or a summer storytime. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sweet Snacks: Rolled-Up French Toast

On the menu for April's Sweet Snacks program: Rolled-up French Toast.

Here's how we did it. (Click here to learn more about how I cook with the kids.)

Start with a piece of white bread and a rolling pin. 

Roll it till it's flat flat flat. 

Spread it with your choice of topping. I offered cream cheese, flavored cream cheese, jelly, and cinnamon sugar. You can do peanut butter, too, but I worry about allergies so I stay away from it unless it is absolutely necessary to have it (we used it when we made Muddy Buddies, for example, but I made extra sure everyone knew that it was coming). 

Cinnamon sugar. Possibly more than strictly necessary...?

Next, make the egg dip. Mix 2 eggs and 3 tablespoons of milk in a bowl. Whisk until it's combined. 

Then roll your bread into a tight roll, dip it in the egg mixture, and place it (seam-side down) in your trusty skillet (my skillet is the awesomest. Go my skillet.)

Biggest challenge: remembering which roll belonged to which child.

Carefully turn the roll as it browns to make sure all the sides get cooked. 

When it's done, put it on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. 

Super simple, delicious, and the ingredients were relatively inexpensive, too. Over the next few days, I received several reports of the kids making these at home for breakfast. Yum!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...