There more of these I do, and the more I read what other families are up to, the more I appreciate the power of learning through play (doh! stating the obvious, I know, but seeing is believing!). I am not particularly into the “flashcard” concept and I do think that the little ones have plenty of time to learn their numbers and alphabet. However, if they are learning through play and the learning bit is incidental, then why not?
So this week, I decided we should get crafty in the kitchen, whilst upping the ante a little and looking at some direct “learning”.
Granny has bought some wonderful books for Red Ted. In particularly a couple of lovely alphabet books. Red Ted is beginning to take an interest in letters and numbers now.
Let’s begin with the book! Baby ABC (By Roger Priddy) is a very sweet Alphabet book – it has bold simple images set against a white background and every other one is “touchy feely” or sparkly. We particularly like th ball of wool (real wool) that “K is for kitten” is playing with. Also, the sentence rhyme and have a nice flow to it. A lovely alphabet book indeed!
When we read it, Red Ted was really “going for” the letters “Sssssssss”, pointing to them and repeating them and asking for letters that lead to his favourite family members (Granny, Baby, Nonni, Opapa, Daddy..).
After that we headed to the kitchen! We were going to bake some Alphabet Cookies.
I chose the kitchen, as we do like to bake and “Red Ted Art”s focus on crafts doesn’t always allow me to show you this. Also, I thought eating letters would be more fun for a 2yrs old than just making them! I chose a VERY simple Shortbread recipe. I believe all children should and are able to learn some very basic recipes. And this is one of them. Simple and tasty!
I decided to focus on just a few letters. M for Mummy. D for Daddy. O for Opapa (granddad in German) and of course “R for Red Ted” (?! Ok ok, he isn’t really called Red Ted.. but we spelled out his real name too!).
1)”Materials”: 300g Flour, 200g Butter, 100g Sugar. Drop of Vanilla essence. Alphabet cookie cutters. (Cook for 10-15min at 160C). The butter had been out since the morning, so that it was nice and soft for mixing.
2) When cooking with Red Ted, I like to get all the measurements ready like they do on cooking shows. That means Red Ted can “help” by pouring in the ingredients. It also makes everything less messy. He does watch me measure it out, so he “gets” that there is an additional step.
3) Age 2, he is a little small for crumbling butter and dough kneading, but he did try and give it a good stir and pinch some dough for snacking. So, I did do the mixing bit. (Crumble butter and flour, then add sugar and vanilla and knead into a smooth dough – ideally rest in fidge for an hour, makes dough easier to roll. Think we did half an hour).
4) Roll dough (not too thin our thicker ones tasted better) and get cutting!!! As Red Ted cut, I emphasised the letters and reminded him what you could spell with it. He liked “M” and “O” best! If you run out of time (or steam), roll dough into a sausage and cut discs off – the children can help you with that!
5) Place on tray not too close together and bake 10-20min.
6) Cool on rack.
7) If the family let you (not mine ) decorate with icing and 100s & 1000s!
8 ) Enjoy! And keep talking letters!
The cookies lasted 2-3 days in our house and I was GENUINELY surprised by how much Red Ted enjoyed talking letters and how he kept going back to his alphabet book and liked to ponder over the cookie tin as to which letter to have next (Daddy was told to eat lots of “D”s). We will definitely be making some more!