Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bringing the Classroom Home - Week 7 - Nursery Rhyme Dinner

Nursery rhymes are funny little poems that cause parents to wonder "what in the world are we teaching our children!" It makes me laugh a little when I read the back stories behind the familiar verses and realize that they are quite disturbing. However, it didn't mess me up singing about babies falling out of trees or putting flowers in our pockets to cover the smell of death. And my guess is that they didn't mess you up either!

They do however help to build rhyming skills, the understanding of intonation, and allow for practicing natural pauses (like at a comma) when reading. They are also great for some pre-reading skills like phonological awareness which research shows makes for better readers! I'll read a nursery rhyme for that! You can talk about new vocabulary, counting concepts and proper (or improper) behavior. There is so much to talk about!

Here are some of the items that my daughter brought home this week: (after taking these pictures, I found like 3 more sheets of nursery rhyme poems. They covered a lot this week!)


You can just read them (or sing them) with your child and it will benefit their language skills, but if you want to take it one step further, join us and cook up some nursery rhymes with us!

My daughter recentlhy turned 4 and something has "clicked." She is so excited about helping out around the house especially with cooking. Last week she helped me peel shrimp. I thought there was no way she would be willing to do that, but there she was taking the little legs and shells off! So, based on what she is intersted in and the fact that cooking (and all the language that goes along with it) the nursery rhymes will keep us saying them multiple times in natural ways, I thought we could have a Nursery Rhyme Dinner!

We decided we would make it a fancy dinner. Here is the menu (click here) that we printed out and had at our table. We all ate on "real" plates and had special water glasses.

I used a variety of pinterest ideas (no real recipes, which is a shocker since I can barely boil water without following a recipe!) after I had decided on which nursery rhymes we'd be using. Here is how it turned out!

We made our menu then went shopping for all of the ingredients that we needed (which was everything except the apples!):

Then, we worked on the Twice Baked Potatoes to go along with One Potato, Two Potato. We talked a lot about counting as well as addition and subtraction (when we cut all of the potatoes in half we had 8+8=16, she thought that was pretty cool).

Between mashes she was parched and kept asking for some of our Jack and Jill water :)

While the Twice Baked Potatoes baked for the second time, we worked on the Buttered, Hot buns for Hot Cross Buns. You will not see a picture of the finished product as I forgot about them, caught them on fire and got to teach her a little fire safety lesson. Fun!

Then we cut the apples for our appetizer for An Apple a Day:

I heated up the gravy, laid out the roast beef from the deli and roasted some frozen corn. It was pretty easy and turned out delicious!  Some times I feel like I need to make everything from scratch for it to be meaningful to my family, but for this dinner, while it would have been tasty to have home made roast beef with gravy, my focus was not on made-from-scratch-cooking but rather on the experience my daughter and I were creating and LIVING at that moment. And it was so worth it!

The nursery rhyme for the corn was Little Boy Blue and for the roast beef was This Little Piggy. The gravy was there just to make it seem more like a meal than "hey mom slapped some lunch meat on a plate and is calling it dinner."

Finally, we had some wonderful pumpkin pie for desert to go along with Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater.

As we ate, we talked about each of the different nursery rhymes represented in our dinner. We said some of them over and over (like Jack and Jill) and others I read out of our book just once. We actually went over the nursery rhymes many times today - from picking the recipes/rhymes, writing out the menu, shopping for the ingredients and then cooking.

My favorite part - well, one of the best parts - was tonight when I laid her down for bed and she asked for water (like she always does), she said "can I have some Jack and Jill water, please" It melted my heart!

I hope that you can use this semi-elegant Nursery Rhyme Dinner to create a wonderful memory with your family!

Do you have a recipe that goes along with a favorite nursery rhyme? Share it with us! We had such a good time, I am quite sure this will not be our last Nursery Rhyme Dinner!

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