After a long hiatus from the book club due to the winter holiday season (which was made longer by a couple of ice/snow storms), we finally got our baby book club back together! We started the new year off with a book about counting: How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? from the How Do Dinosaurs series by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. In this book, the dinosaurs count playful items in their day that might have importance to a toddler, for example, one teddy bear, two balloons, three toy trucks, and so on. The book is told in rhyme and has illustrations of somewhat realistic, albeit friendly-looking, dinosaurs playing with the items described on each page. Although the dinosaurs make the book very engaging for the little ones, we used the number aspect of this book as the theme of our book club meeting.
After we read the book, we divided up some toddler-friendly soft-pretzel dough that I had made in advance that morning. We had two batches of dough. One that we used to make into the shapes of numbers and the other that we gave to the toddlers to roll, mush, ball, or otherwise manipulate as they chose. After shaping the dough, we placed it onto a few baking sheets, brushed with a beaten egg and baked in the oven for 10 minutes.
The soft pretzel recipe came from Kinder-Krunchies: Healthy Snack Recipes for Children by Karen S. Jenkins, page. 38 (Letter Pretzels).
1) Dissolve 1 Tablespoon yeast in ½ cup warm water.
2) Add 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon salt.
3) Add 1 1/3 cup flour.
5) Roll pieces to form letters (or in our case numbers). The author suggests forming letters on wax paper over a letter guide, but we just did it free-hand!
6) Brush with a beaten egg.
7) Sprinkle with salt.
8) Bake 10 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 425 degrees.
After the pretzels cooled, we gathered everyone together and lined the numbers up. We counted and simultaneously pointed to the pretzels so the tots could see the correlation. We also had some berries that we intended to use for counting, but as soon as the kiddos saw the food, they just wanted to gobble it up (and they did), so that was a well intentioned plan that never really came to fruition! That said, the berries helped make a well rounded healthy snack. The pretzels got great reviews from the toddlers and mommies alike and baked perfectly! I love that this recipe is healthy, easy, and has no ingredients that can’t be eaten raw (although the raw dough wouldn’t taste very good) because we all know that even under the most observant eye, things can end up in toddler mouths that shouldn’t!
The following slide show has photos of our meeting.
Join us next month as we move from numbers to letter and read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault (illustrated by Lois Ehlert).