Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Counting Down to Christmas with Picture Books, Recipes, and Crafts - Day 2 (Cookie Store Craft)


Even though Cynthia Rylant's The Cookie-Store Cat is not specifically a Christmas story , I pulled it out for the second day of our picture book (with a craft or recipe) countdown to Christmas.

It does contain two pages right in the middle of the story describing Christmas as the best time of the year, in the Cookie shop, and many of the cookie recipes at the back of the book, such as for Gumdrop Gems, Gingerbread Men, Frosty Fruit Squares, Santa Claus Faces, and Cinnamon Sugarplums (there are seven recipes total), lend the book a decidedly Christmas feel.

The story describes the way the cookie-store cat, who was taken in by the old, kind-hearted baker as a kitten, spends his day showered in love, appreciation, and cookies (with a bowl of cream). It's a great story for children who do not like conflict, as it contains none.

The bakers love the cat. The shop keepers, up and down the street, love the cat. The customers and children, who visit the store, love the cat. And, at Christmastime the cat wears a red bow and bell, and is "so beautiful and jingles so nicely that he is the talk of the town."

After reading the story out loud, and D (age 8) exclaiming that it was the first Christmas story he'd ever heard with a happy ending (I did point out the Biblical Christmas story has a happy ending too, as long as you read all the way to the end), we were all ready to spend some time in a cookie shop, too.

To get the fun going, I traced around our Christmas cookie cutters, on the back of a flattened cereal box, and then cut the shapes out for play cookies.


The children quickly gathered, and asked for supplies - a toy oven and cash register, a cookie sheet, spatula, cooling rack, pot holders, a few paper sacks, a small paper "tip" cup...


...some extra cardboard for making a menu board and open sign...


...and crayons, for decorating the cookies. That all sounds like a lot now, writing it out, but since most of it was right there in the kitchen, it was very quick to pull together.


While the busy bakers worked in the back, D manned the cash register...

...and C prepared for the role of the customer.

It didn't take long after the store opened...


...for the busy bakers to take turns...


...as customers, as well.


While the children played, I tried out the recipe for Frosty Fruit Squares from the back of the book. It's basically a layer of jam, sandwiched between two layers of a butter, brown sugar, flour and quick oats mixture. I used our all day apple butter in place of the jam - think apple crisp in a cookie bar form - yum.




The children gobbled them up, so I take that as a recommendation for the recipe. Of course, the smell of actual cookies baking, added a nice touch of reality to their game, as well.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

9 comments:

Wonder Mom said...

LOVE this! You should also glue some cinnamon or nutmeg onto the cookies for added dimension to the play...

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Wonder Mom - I was thinking of paper sprinkles - but cinnamon would make for a nice smell...hmmm.

Christy said...

We haven't read this book - I'll have to look for it.

Annette W. said...

Love this!! Could you share the recipe? Sounds simple...and I made your apple butter a while back.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Annette - I can't share it here, because of the copywrite in the book (but I'm happy to email it to you, friend to friend).

Ticia said...

I want the recipe too! It reminds me of my favorite recipe as a kid, date bars. Yum, yum, yum!

I need to make some cardboard cookies. I know at least one little girl who would love this!

Alex said...

We love Cynthia Rylant! I put the book on hold at our library. Thanks for sharing it!

Debbie said...

Your children look like they had so much fun with this.

Melanie said...

Tried this with my 4yo yesterday and she loved it! In fact I found 2 crayons in her hand this morning when I dropped her off at her grandparents house. When I asked why she brought crayons (they already have plenty for the kids at their house!) she then pulled out a blank "cookie" and just smiled. :) I'll definitely be making a few more blanks for the kids to use! TFS!