Sunday, February 22, 2009


Making these totally non-authentic pretzels are a fun activity for preschoolers. We made some this morning.

Makes 6 large pretzels

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2-3 cups all-purpose unbleached or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk (approximately 1 minute in the microwave)

I doubled the recipe, but didn't need to.

A grown up should do the first part. Put the milk, yeast and sugar in a mixer bowl. Let it sit a few minutes until bubbly. I spent the five minutes washing little girl hands. Preheat oven to 425.

Add in 2 cups of the flour which has been premixed with the salt to avoid killing the yeast.

Mix until it forms a stretchy dough adding flour as necessary. Let the mixer knead it (or knead by hand) for five minutes.

Then it's time for fun and help.

Divide dough into six portions. Lightly flour a table or cutting board and make dough snakes. Ours somehow came out to different lengths, but that is OK. This blog is about real life preschool fun, not pretty food.

Let the snakes sleep for 5 minutes. Lightly oil a cookie sheet.

After five minutes curl the snakes up into pretzel (or other) shapes. Sprinkle with water. Sprinkle with salt. If you want to get fancy and you don't have a toddler testing ingredients, try an egg wash.

Bake for about 15 minutes. They are done when golden brown.

Yummy. Pretzels! Eat as soon as they are cool enough to touch.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wishing for spring

It's been a long winter, but the snow is melting and the birds are coming back. We're seeing the first signs that winter is not eternal.

"I want to do a spring art project." said Arielle. Hmm....

Here's an easy one. Every spring we have an abundance of sticks in our yard from winter storms. I just grabbed a few.

You can either stick the end in a glob of old play dough (the brown kind made from all the colors mixing together is perfect) or put it in a vase or cup.

Cut out a bunch of leaves from green tissue paper (cellophane of kite paper could also look nice. Let your child rub glue stick on the sticks and stick on the leaves. Talk about how the trees are bare now, but soon they will grow buds and then leaves. Maybe even flowers - for flowers, you could add a few crumpled little bits of pink tissue paper.

It's so easy even a two year old can do it :0) And they came out beautifully.

The blue bird was another easy project. Trace both of your child's hands on a sheet of construction paper. Cut out. Let them glue the thumbs together. Fold down the joined thumbs and add a scrap paper beak. Heave your child draw eyes and what ever else they feel is necessary to make it their bird.

Warm thoughts to you all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Crazy Sock Puppets

Old socks, bits and pieces, and scrap paper. Show me your creations.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's fall! Leaf rubbings

Pictures first.

Did you do this when you were in school?

First, you go for a walk to gather fallen leaves. Try not to pick the really cool shaped leaves that haven't fallen yet off the trees; they'll give you something new to look at in a few weeks. Pick some leaves that aren't too crunchy. Lay them out out on a sheet of paper. Put another thin sheet of paper on top, and using the side of an unwrapped crayon (block crayons are perfect for this), you rub till the design shows up. Even a toddler can do this and will be very proud of the results. Then you can paste the design to a folded piece of construction paper and send Grandma a "Happy Fall!" card.

The last of the pigs (for now).

Piggie Toes

You'll need:
Pink paint
Paint Brush
A few wet rags for clean-up

No shoes or socks for this project.

First you paint the toes.

Then you put the toes on the paper and make toe prints.

Then you decorate the toe prints to look like pigs by giving them ears, tails and faces. (or draw a pig around them?)

Either way, it's fun (and really funny when mom paints your toes. "What!"), and mom has a sweet reminder of little toes.

More pigs!

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. And Mommy Pig, who was getting rather squished in her little pig pen, said "You are all grown up now, my little piggies, and not as little as you used to be. It is time to go out into the world and build your own homes. But, be sure to call every night, and I expect you at six o'clock sharp for Sunday dinner." So the little pigs went out into the big world to make their fortune.

The first little pig was very lucky, and he met a girl with straw (spaghetti) and he said, "I bet that would make a lovely house." So the little girl made him a house, and it was cozy as can be.

The second little pig met a girl with (popsicle) sticks. He told the girl of his problems, and being a sweet, kind-hearted girl, she decided to build him a house. And, in he went, cozy as can be.

The third little pig met a girl with bricks. "What shall I do with these bricks?" she wondered.

"Hmmm... I just can't think of anything," answered the pig, "but, I sure wish I had some straw or sticks for a house."

"Well, this is a crazy idea," mused the girl, "but maybe, like I said wild idea, maybe I could build a house out of bricks."

They both agreed the idea was so crazy that it just might work. So, the girl got out her washable glue and her shoe box (although a tissue box or milk carton or even egg carton would have been just fine) and she built a house out of bricks.

It was the best house ever. The little pig moved in and was cozy as can be.

But silly piggies, they forgot about the big bad wolf.

Now that the three little pigs were snug in their homes and cozy as can be, Mommy Pig and the (not so) Big (not really) Bad Wolf went to the movies. He even brought her a flower.

And every one lived happily (and cozily)ever after.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Farm Studies 2: Pigs, part 1.

Arielle loves pigs, so we devoted three days to pigs. This is day one.

Arielle especially enjoys the story of the Three Little Pigs. We've read several version and made up our own. There's a free audio version at Storynory, and another at Candlelight Stories. My children love listening to audio stories while working on their art projects.

So, to start we made MaMa Pig and Three Little Pigs. Here are the basic shapes and supplies.

Use pink construction paper to make a big oval for the body, two triangles for the ears, four small rectangles for legs, and a small oval for a nose. Don't worry about perfection.
You will also need two googley eyes, a small section of pipe cleaner, a black crayon, a glue stick and scraps of pink tissue paper to decorate (optional).

The final result!

On Day Two, we will make houses for the pigs :-)