Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Math/Fine Motor
- baking trays
- measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- mixing bowls
- mixing spoons
- small pastry brush
- ingredients for pretzel dough
Objective: Children will increase their math concepts, fine-motor skills, language skills, and creative concepts as they use pretzel dough to create shapes, numbers, or letters.
In Advance: Preheat oven to 425°F and gather your ingredients for the pretzel dough: 1 cup warm water, 1 envelope yeast, 4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons sugar or 1 tablespoon honey, 1 egg.(Optional ingredients: coarse salt, raisins, cinnamon, mustard, chocolate or peanut butter chips)
1. Ask the children to help prepare the pretzel dough. Begin by mixing the warm water, yeast, and sugar or honey, and set it aside for five minutes. Mix the salt and flour in a separate bawl. Combine and stir the yeast mixture with salt and flour mixture. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and set aside.
2. Give each child a sheet of aluminum foil and a handful of pretzel dough. Encourage the children to think of different things they can make with their dough, including letters of the alphabet, numbers, and shapes. Children may also choose to add chocolate chips or cinnamon and raisins to their individual pretzel dough.
3. Once children have chosen their pretzel shapes, invite them to brush the dough with egg to make the pretzels shiny. Bake the pretzels for 12 minutes and serve immediately to prevent the pretzels from becoming too hard. Some children may even enjoy dipping their plain pretzel into mustard.
Remember: Children can create different shapes before deciding which pretzels to bake. As children work with the dough, it will become stickier.
Literacy and Art: Read Pretzel by Margaret Rey (Houghton Mifflin, 1997) to the children. Provide them with materials to create drawings about their pretzel-making experience. Record their dictations and encourage them to create their own pretzel book. Children can continue making pretend pretzels with play dough or clay, or by twisting brown butcher paper.
This activitiy originally appeared in the November, 1999 issue of Early Childhood Today.