If you are familiar with Carole King’s happy song “Chicken Soup with Rice” you know how heartwarming it is. The song, which the pre-K Cats and Rabbits classes love, is based on the tiny picture book with the same title by Maurice Sendak. It is also a lesson on the sequence of the months.

As part of our pre-K health and wellness curriculum, we used the song as inspiration to have an experience with food. During morning activities, each child wrote out a list of the ingredients that go into chicken soup, including broth, rice, vegetables and parsley, and drew illustrations of the food items, looking at the details of each ingredient to help them enhance their artwork. The Cats and Rabbits noticed the long stems of the parsley, the round shape of the peas and the different colors of the vegetables. We also made a literacy connection by looking at the label of the chicken broth. The children made predictions while looking at the label; some thought there would be pieces of chicken in the broth while others guessed it would just be broth. These activities allowed the children to practice their fine motor skills, sound symbol correspondence and letter recognition.

Writing out a list of ingredients.

Writing out a list of ingredients.

Drawing ingredients for the soup.

Drawing ingredients for the soup.

After exploring the ingredients, each child had the opportunity to create a custom version of the soup and taste his or her creation. They could choose to add herbs, salt, carrots and peas, in addition to rice. The children were very excited to make their own soups. Some took risks by tasting a new ingredient, while others took risks by smelling or touching an ingredient. The children took ownership of their creations by making choices and thinking about what their soup might need more of, such as salt. Some were inspired to sing “Chicken Soup with Rice” as they excitedly mixed the ingredients in their bowl.

The children notice the parsley's long stems.

The children notice the parsley’s long stems.

Taking the time to discover each ingredient.

Taking the time to discover each ingredient.

Each child created a custom version of the soup.

Each child created a custom version of the soup.

The Cats and Rabbits had a wonderful time making and tasting their own soup. A few days after our cooking activity, we took this experience further with a creative journal writing experience. Pre-K students have been practicing journal writing since the beginning of the school year and each child has their own journal. A journal entry consists of a drawing and a dictation. This journal entry was prompted by a page from Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak that was pasted onto their journal. The Cats and Rabbits used that picture as inspiration to make their own chicken soup with rice story. This journal entry, which could be fiction or nonfiction, was also a great way for students to practice being mindful of sequencing and the beginning, middle and end of a story. We look forward to many more cooking activities and inspirations for our journal entries!

Checking out the rice.

Checking out the rice.

Everyone is looking forward to more cooking activities!

Everyone is looking forward to more cooking activities!