My favorite books and supplies to start our preschool year!

Friday, March 9, 2012

V is for Vanilla

I thought we’d try something a little new for V week. We’ve never done V is for Vanilla before! Of course, it’s going to take a little extra smelling and tasting today!


  • Read Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper
    • Plain Vanilla: Vanilla cupcake is very proud of his colorful cupcake family until he realizes he is just plain and white. A cute story about how he tries to find just the right topping to make him fancier than just plain vanilla. Includes a recipe for Deliciously Plain Vanilla Cupcakes!
vanilla almond

   root beer

  • Smell different flavors
    1. Squeeze small amounts of several extracts or flavorings onto cotton balls (peppermint, root beer, almond, lemon and of course, vanilla)
    2. Let the kids smell the different extracts.
    3. Don’t tell them which is which, but see if they can guess.

photo source

  • Vanilla Bean
    1. Get a real vanilla bean from the store. Check your local health food store or gourmet food shop if you can’t find them in your regular grocery store.
    2. Examine the vanilla bean. What does it look like? How does it smell? What does it feel like? Measure it.
    3. Carefully slice it open and let the kids see the seeds inside and smell the vanilla … Mmm!
    4. If you’re not sure how, check here or here.

photo source
vanilla bean plant
photo source

  • All about a Vanilla Bean … so I’ve looked and looked and there just aren’t many kids books about vanilla beans Smile Not too surprising. Here are some facts I’ve learned.
    1. Vanilla is the fruit of an orchid plant.
    2. The vanilla bean pod contains thousands of little black seeds. The seeds and the pod are both very flavorful.
    3. Vanilla orchids grow in tropic climates, primarily Mexico, Tahiti, Madagascar (3/4 of world supply comes from Madagascar).
      • NOTE: You could find these countries on a globe
    4. The green vanilla beans are hand-picked, soaked in hot water, rolled in blankets to “sweat,” dried on flats in the sun to evaporate the water, then stored in a ventilated room to slowly produce the vanilla flavor. This process takes six months!

DSC09508 DSC09520

  • Chocolate Vanilla Cookie Patterns
    1. Use a package of chocolate vanilla sandwich cookies (they have chocolate on one side, vanilla on the other)
    2. Use a pattern strip (or not).
    3. Start a simple pattern and let the kids finish it with their cookies flipping to either the chocolate or vanilla side!

popsicle game

  • Vanilla Ice Cream Bar Memory Match … my 4-year-old who loves Memory Match is going to love this version!
    1. This is an adorable version of Memory Match from Amy at Eat Drink Chic. It is a popsicle matching game, but I’m going to improvise and call it an ice cream bar game Smile
    2. Amy has a great tutorial and free printable here. Print, cut and sandwich a craft popsicle stick between the front and back.
    3. I may make one more set with just plain “vanilla” paper on the back.
    4. Have a great time matching your ice cream bars and finding that one VANILLA match!
  • Rock n’ Roll Vanilla Ice Cream
    1. You will need:
      • 3 lb. empty coffee-type can
      • 1 lb. empty coffee-type can
      • 1 pint half & half
      • 1/2 cup sugar
      • 1 vanilla bean, split
      • rock salt
      • ice
    2. In the smaller can, mix the half & half, sugar and vanilla bean seeds (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract).
    3. Put the lid on the smaller can and seal with duct tape.
    4. Place the small can inside the large can. Layer with ice and rock salt.
    5. Put the lid on the larger can and seal with duct tape.
    6. Place a large plastic table cloth on the floor and roll the can to each other. It takes about 10 minutes.
      1. TIP: You may want to make a game out of it. Each time you roll the can, have the kids think of a food or an animal that starts with a letter of the alphabet. Ex: the first person says “A for Apple or A for Armadillo.” Roll the can to the next person who says “B for Bagel or B for Buffalo” … keep rolling!
      2. NOTE: You can also take the can outside and kick it if the weather is nice enough!
    7. Open the cans and stir the ice cream. If it’s not quite hard enough, reseal and keep rolling or put the can in the freezer for an hour.

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