Thursday, January 19, 2023

Storytime: What’s In the Oven?

Includes the retelling of two traditional folktales and a variant,
the ECRR concepts of narrative skill/retelling and singing,
non-fiction elements of farming and bread-baking,
plus a dash of mathematics and multiculturalism!
(Pick and choose depending on ages in group.)

Book (folktale): The Little Red Hen -- Byron Barton (Alt. version: Paul Galdone)

Song: “Mulberry Bush” variant This is the way we plant the seeds... Cut the stalks… Thresh the wheat.. Grind the wheat… Mix the batter…Knead the bread… Bake the bread… Eat our toast (Every Child Ready to Read skill (ECRR1)- narrative -- remembering sequence in book, vocabulary “thresh” “knead”; ECRR2 “singing”)

Book: Bread, Bread, Bread – Ann Morris (a multicultural look at breads around the world)

Book/Action Chant: Peanut Butter and Jelly – Nadine Bernard Westcott Silly action song depicting the sequence of sandwich making (with elephants!)

Storytelling with Flannelboard/Masks/Puppets (depending on size of group): The Gingerbread Man – Karen Chace has quite a few suggestions on her blog, including a link to Jan Brett’s beautiful printable masks:  Gingerbread script:

Mother Goose Action Rhyme: Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake Baker’s Man
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake Baker’s Man
Bake me a cake As fast as you can.
Roll it and pat it (Roll and clap hands)
And mark it with a B (Trace B on palm)
And put it in the oven (extend both hands)
For baby and me (point to Baby and Self)

or  Action: Make a Cake (source unknown)
Mix the batter, stir the batter (make a stirring motion with one arm/hand)
Shake some flour in (make a shaking motion with one arm/hand)
Mix the batter, stir the batter (make a stirring motion with one arm/hand)
Place it in a tin (pretend to pour)
Sprinkle in some raisins (pretend to sprinkle)
Pop it in to bake (open both hands, palms up, and slide them forward)
Open wide the oven door (pretend to open door)
And out comes the cake! (open both hands, palms up, and slide them forward)

Book & Flannel or Props: The Doorbell Rang – Pat Hutchins Used12 flannel (or real) children and 12 flannel/prop cookies to demonstrate the cookie “division” as I read this story – great numeracy exercise but best for groups age 4 & up

Action Song: Great Big Cookie (To the Tune of Linda Arnold’s “I am a Pizza”— these lyrics by Carol Simon Levin)
I am a cookie (circle hands over head)
Chocolately and round (extend hands out to sides)
Filled with lots of chocolate chips (point to chips)
The best that can be found (rub tummy)
I am a cookie (circle hands over head)
Take a bite of me (make chewing motions)
Tasty, sweet, delicious (extend hands out to sides)
I’m oh-so-yummy!  (rub tummy)
(gobble gobble gobble!)
(sing slowly, sadly)
I WAS a great big cookie (circle hands over head)
The very best around  (extend hands out to sides)
Now there’s nothing left of me (shake head)
Just crumbs upon the ground!  (sit down)

Shakey Eggs -- Chant: "Peanut Butter &  Jelly", Lithgow's: You've Gotta Have Pep (any lively tune would do)

Handed out take home bags of bread dough (flour, yeast, salt, water) and instructions for making "Teddy Bear Bread"  (below)

How to Make Teddy Bear Bread (can also use premade pizza dough)

Author: Jean Van't Hul

Prep Time: 3 hours   Cook Time: 20 minutes


1.5 cups warm water (about 110–130 degrees Fahrenheit) 

1 packet active dry yeast

1–3 tablespoons honey (skip or use sugar for under 2 year olds)

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 cups all purpose flour or bread flour

For glaze: 1 egg + 2 T water


1. Mix the warm water, yeast, and honey in a large bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

2. Stir in half of the flour to the yeast mixture, then let it rest for 30 minutes.

3. Mix in the salt, oil, and rest of the flour. 

4. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for five minutes. Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky. 

5. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours). 

6. Punch the dough down, then divide it into small balls and pieces to use it to make bread dough creations & fForm the bread dough into faces, animals, suns, snails, and other fun shapes.

7. Place your bread dough creations on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased) and let them rise until doubled in size (30 minutes or so) while preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Make an egg wash by whisking together the egg and water. Brush the tops of the bread shapes with the egg wash.
Bake! Place your bread shapes in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Smaller shapes might need less time and the larger ones might need more time.
Let cool and enjoy!

Optional Book or Flannel (if time): The Cake that Mack Ate – from the book by Rose Robart – the cumulative tale of what happened to the cake baked by the farmer’s wife – with a surprise ending, this silly folktale variation is a version of The House that Jack Built.

More ideas:

CDPL 1/19/23

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