Bake Alphabet Pretzels!
In kindergarten, it's pretty much impossible to overdo alphabet practice. After all, letters underlie all literacy tasks, whether it's reading or writing, and teachers want kids to know them automatically, without hesitation. If you're looking for more ways to explore how letters are formed, try this fun baking activity. It's hands-on, to put it mildly, and you may be surprised by how delicious the results are, too!
What You Need:
- 1 cup hot water, approximately 100°F
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Cookie sheet
- Coarse salt, as desired
What to Do:
- First, have your kindergartner help you mix up the dough. Remember that just about every aspect of cooking can be valuable for academic learning. Measuring ingredients? Math and science! Following recipes? Reading! Oh, and then there's always the eating part—just plain fun.
- To mix the dough, start by dissolving the yeast in the water. Let it sit for a few minutes until it's bubbly.
- Add the sugar, salt, oil, and flour, and mix until stiff. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and invite your kindergartner to help you knead, pound, roll, and otherwise enjoy the dough to its fullest. Put it back in your bowl, and let it sit in a warm place for at least an hour, or until it has doubled in bulk.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into 15 little pieces. Give one at a time to your child, and invite him to roll it out into a long, pliable skinny stick which he can then use to form letters. Let your child decide which letters he wants to make. An easy approach is to have him work on spelling his own name.
- Place his completed letters on a greased cookie sheet. Allow them to sit for 30 minutes or so to rise slightly, brush them with the egg mixture, and sprinkle them with the coarse salt if desired. Bake at 400° until crispy and brown—about 12 minutes.
What's Going On?
While kindergartners benefit from writing their letters with pencils and markers, dough—like clay—offers them the extra benefit of using their full hands to feel and form letter shapes. “Alphabet Pretzels” are delectable right out of the oven, so make them often and the regular letter practice can make for delicious success for years to come.
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