Tuesday, April 15, 2014

If You Give a Kid a Pancake

....he'll ask you to make them for breakfast everyday!
I think one day before I had children I declared that I was not going to make my kids big elaborate breakfasts, they can eat cereal every morning! Oh silly, naive, pre-children Kristin. It's not that they beg me for pancakes every morning, but more that I want to make them a special treat some days. Mind you, I don't make pancakes everyday. I make them about once a week, and make extras so that they can be reheated for breakfast for the next day or two. And sometimes when I'm feeling extra motivated I'll make a double or triple batch so I can freeze them. I just separate them between wax paper and put them in a freezer, zip-top bag. The other days, when the kids are not eating pancakes, they eat french toast, egg sandwiches, oatmeal, or yes, even cereal!

But on those days that we are eating pancakes, I do try to healthy them up a bit. I have tried numerous recipes from buttermilk and oatmeal pancakes to whole wheat pancakes, but this latest one we made was a different and quite delicious spin. Not to mention the fact that it tied in nicely to our little author study, as we just read Laura Numeroff's If You Give a Pig a Pancake

Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes
(adapted from Todd English's PB&B recipe)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 T butter, melted
1/4 cup peanut butter, microwaved until thin
2 small bananas, mashed

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together (3 year olds are great at helping with this step). Add buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, and peanut butter and gently mix together. Fold in mashed banana. Cook on greased griddle or pan for about 2-3 min. per side. Top, of course, with maple syrup!

After reading the story, we talked about other things that begin with the letter "P". I asked Jack to stamp a "P" as many times as he wanted on a piece of paper. Then for every "P" he stamped, we thought of a word to write that begins with the letter "P".
It was a lot of fun doing a mini-author study. It's great to have a little purpose and direction when we go to the library, rather than just picking random books every time.  I think we will definitely do it again soon! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

If You Give a Kid The Letter "M"...

...he's going to do lots of marvelous activities. Continuing our author study of Laura Numeroff books, this week we read If You Give a Moose a Muffin. After reading the book, we did a fine motor, counting activity where Jack had to use tongs to pick up small puff balls and place them in a muffin pan. Each slot in the pan had a number, so he had to place that number of puff balls in that spot. 

Next, I drew an "M" for him so he could practice cutting. "M" is a great letter for cutting practice because of all of the straight lines. I didn't take a picture of the finished product, but let's just say cutting is something on which we need more practice. 

I cut out another large "M" and he practiced writing the letter "M" ON the letter "M"!

On a third letter "M" that I cut out, we brainstormed all of the words we could think of that began with the letter. He needed a little guidance at first. I said things like, "Can you think of any foods that start with "M"? or Do you see anything in this room that starts with "M"?" We came up with a long list including, Mom, microwave, minivan, Meghan, and markers. 

Another day, I gave him a few pieces of paper with pictures, some of which began with "M". I told him to stamp an "M" under all of the M-words.

Oops, almost thought airplane began with "M". 

Then we made a paper bag moose by using a cut out tracing of his hands as the moose antlers. This was his first experience with paper bag puppets and he thought it was hilarious. Gotta love toddler humor!

Then of course, If You Give a Moose a Muffin would not be complete without baking actual muffins! I decided to try making up my own muffin recipe. Well, let's just say the muffins were edible, but it was the actual toddler baking experience that was a success!