We used that along with some plastic coins props to go along with this cute action rhyme:
Five Little Cookies
There were five little cookies in the bakery shop
Freshly baked with frosting on top
Along came [insert child's name] with a nickel to pay
He/she took one cookie and went on his way!
Now there are four....
(...and continue on down to one)
Part of learning about occupations related to food and its preparation also included talking about a very important Jewish community helper: the mashgiach. A mashgiach oversees the food preparation in factories, restaurants and other public venues to ensure that it is prepared according to the laws of kashrut. We help our son learn about keeping kosher naturally as we are eating and cooking together. He learns about how we eat only kosher foods and that we eat meat and dairy on separate dishes and at separate times. He learns to check eggs when we are baking together to make sure there are no blood spots that may render them unkosher and to wash produce carefully in order to eliminate any bugs. Grocery shopping is also an adventure in learning about kashrut as we look together for kosher symbols on packages of processed food items.
He plays frequently about cooking and shopping in his kitchen dramatic play area, so we brought out a fun Shopping for Shabbos game since we happened to get to this theme on a Friday. I prepared a shopping list ahead of time and set out the play materials we would be shopping for in our pretend storefront. He got to carry the list and a pencil for checking off items as he got them. He was very busy filling up a recycled brown paper bag and his toy shopping cart! You can make an activity like this more advanced by including a number of each item you wish to buy to encourage some practice with counting. You can also delve deeper by including prices and pretend currency and even a calculator or toy register if you have one. Take it on the road for a practical field trip and provide your little helper with his/her own list of items to find and add to the cart at the real grocery store!
Sensory bins are always a favorite activity in our house. We brought back our bin of dried beans and pasta from our construction workers day and this time added some toy kitchen tools, pots and pans and empty recycled spice containers. He loved scooping, pouring, filling and shaking. Then he was ready to eat some actual lunch and take a good, long nap before joining me in the kitchen to help prepare our actual Shabbat dinner.
Well, that's a wrap to our Community Helper's unit and we've had a LOT of fun. This theme is one that will continue to follow us in dialogue and in action as we go about our normal family routines. The dramatic play aspect of it was a great segue into the sub-themes of Purim, a topic we are playing and learning about heavily as the holiday draws near. Join us next time for a peek at what we're doing to get ready and until then...