Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Moon Dough and Holiday Magic

on November 12, 2012

The girls awoke to an early Christmas present Saturday morning and have been playing with it almost non-stop since:

Waking up to her dream kitchen …

Little Bear’s lone Christmas request was for “a bigger play kitchen, one big enough for BOTH of us” to replace their much-loved, but barely-big-enough-for-one Wonderworld Portable Cooker. The one we wanted to get for them went on sale last week, I ordered it, UPS delivered it the very next day, and Daddy Bear assembled it after the cubs went to bed that evening. We managed to keep it hidden for a day — long enough to clear space for it in our living room/dining room/play room/school room and to reach the weekend when we’d have time to watch them enjoy it. But it’s kind of hard to hide a kitchen in a 2-bedroom apartment. Besides, one of this month’s themes is food, and a food theme practically demands kitchen play.

Along with plenty of free play, Little Bear is learning about food groups and has been sorting her play food into protein, dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables. She’s also been trying to create balanced play meals and has separated her “junk food” cookie and cupcake play sets from her healthier play foods … though she told me this morning that her Smart Snacks Sorting Shapes Cupcakes probably shouldn’t be classified as junk food “because they’re probably made with zucchini and bananas and whole wheat flour.” Vegetables hidden in baked goods? I can’t imagine what gave her that idea! (although I have it on good authority that this banana bread recipe tastes even better with a couple of cups of finely shredded zucchini, enough freshly-grated nutmeg to hide the squash taste, a couple of scoops of protein powder, and freshly ground whole wheat flour …)

As for Baby Bear, she can entertain herself for hours by dumping our wooden cutting food out of its storage basket, cutting each piece apart, then picking up the cut pieces and dropping them into whatever pot happens to be nearby. Better yet, she’s beginning to learn how to match halves and put the cut pieces back together.

Beyond playing with the ready-made food, both girls have been wanting to “bake” in their new play oven. Inspired by Robert Munsch’s Mmm, Cookies!, we made a couple of pans of play clay cookies. Then, in an effort to entertain a sick Baby Bear while Daddy Bear and Little Bear were at church Sunday, I pulled out an old bag of Moon Dough and discovered that the stuff was easy to roll with a rolling pin, that it cut beautifully with cookie cutters, and that it was a lot easier to get out of carpet than either Play-Doh or modeling clay. The girls now have access to a jelly roll pan filled with Moon Dough, a couple of toy rolling pins, and a half dozen cookie cutters. They’re using their imaginations, honing their motor skills, and having great tactile fun, while I’m breathing easy instead of Googling new methods of removing stickier modeling substances from carpet.

The girls sweetly left their early Christmas present behind this morning to help create holiday magic for other children, however. This week is National Collections Week for Operation Christmas Child, and with a bit of searching, I found a local drop site for shoe boxes. Little Bear helped make a shopping list, and we went shopping for two little girls, one between the ages of 2 and 4 and one between the ages of 5 and 9. Tomorrow’s project? Praying for the children who will receive our boxes, writing letters to them, and packing shoe boxes!

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