Early in the Autumn one of the perfect themes for your preschoolers, whether you do preschool at home or teach preschool is Harvest especially if you live in a rural area. There are many different areas that you could focus on for this topic and we have included some at the bottom of the article that would supplement this activity. I would recommend combining this into your yearly planning with a unit on planting depending on your environment you could use some of the suggestions for Quick Growing Plants for Kids in the vegetable selection. Grow, harvest and eat all in a very short amount of time.

Making bread - learning about the process of harvesting wheat, milling and bread making as part of #playfulpreschool

 


Related Recipe – Make Hedgehog Bread Rolls using this recipe


Harvest – Bread Making Objectives

  • Learn that wheat from the fields makes flour
  • Talk about historical and modern flour making
  • Make bread by hand – measuring and fine motor skills

Flour Making

As we travel out of town in the autumn we see the combine harvesters cutting the wheat and sorting it to be sent to be milled down to flour. Growing up surrounded by this environment my children know what a combine harvester does and would easily recognise it moving along the roads and in the fields, having spent time in traffic watching the process they have seen the harvest chop the fields, the grain go into the trailer that follows beside and the bails of hay produced as the field is harvested. What happens next was my main focus for this week.

Harvesting Wheat - preschool bread making
Copyright Rachwal

Farming and harvesting is a long tradition in East Anglia and we have a Museum of East Anglian Life local which has a working watermill as well as many working windmills still milling flour and we visited the watermill to see what happens to the wheat to turn it into flour which we could use for baking. You can see the process in this youtube video to share with your child.

We then compared it to modern production and found this informative video from the Grain Chain explaining how a large scale factory milling works.

 After watching the clips and our visit to the watermill it was time to make bread. T goes to preschool 2 and a half days a week and on the 2 full days she helps to prepare the lunch that they eat which always includes a bread that they bake in the morning, as part of our preschool at home on the day that we have a full day at home it’s a tradition that we are starting as it’s a great calming start to the day as well as helps work on fine motor skills with her.


Alternative Field Trip and Activities – Apple Picking


Bread Making with preschoolers – recipe

Homemade bread ingredients to make a 1lb loaf

12oz Strong White Flour
8fl oz Hand hot water
1 and 1/2 tea spoons fast acting yeast
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of vegetable or sunflower oil
1/2 tea spoon sugar

Homemade bread method

To make, knead and allow the bread to rise as well as bake this will take around 2 to 2 and a half hours in total.

At the moment we are working on number recognition so when cooking I use an electronic scales and always set it to oz as for most recipes we make at home it’s perfect for number recognition upto 20. T pours the ingredients in and I keep a careful eye on the number especially as it can change quite quickly but have developed counting with her as she pours to help with the number recognition.

Making bread - learning about the process of harvesting wheat, milling and bread making as part of #playfulpreschool

Put the dry ingredients into a bowl first and mix.

Making bread - learning about the process of harvesting wheat, milling and bread making as part of #playfulpreschool

Then pour in the water.

Making bread - learning about the process of harvesting wheat, milling and bread making as part of #playfulpreschool

Mix the ingredients together to form a sticky dough. – if the dough is too sticky add more strong white flour, if it’s not mixing well add a little more hand hot water.

Once the dough is formed transfer to a baking mat which you have lightly floured with a little more of the strong white flour and knead. Pull the dough apart and then push it back together.

Making bread - learning about the process of harvesting wheat, milling and bread making as part of #playfulpreschool

It is sticky and T went and washed her hands 3 times whilst making the dough as she really doesn’t like having her hands covered in sticky mess (if your child is this make sure that their hands are very dry before they knead again otherwise you will need to add more strong white flour to make it less sticky).

Making bread - learning about the process of harvesting wheat, milling and bread making as part of #playfulpreschool

Once you have smooth dough place inside a very lightly greased loaf tin and then place a clean tea towel over the top and leave to rise in a warm room for about 30 – 60 minutes so that it doubles in size. Heat the oven to 350F and put in the risen loaf.

Making bread - learning about the process of harvesting wheat, milling and bread making as part of #playfulpreschool

It will takes 20 – 25 minutes for the loaf to cook keep an eye on it – you can test whether it’s done by turning it out and tapping the bottom if it sounds hollow then the loaf is cooked.

Making bread - learning about the process of harvesting wheat, milling and bread making as part of #playfulpreschool

We had made Jam (Jelly) earlier this year with fruit from the garden so had a lunch with our homemade bread, jam.

Harvest themed Activities

Check out these suggestions for harvest themed activities for playing, creating and learning in the preschool years.

Plan your PRESCHOOL Harvest Theme Learning Week with Activities from the Playful Preschool Education Team:

Learning with Gourds: Comparing, Sorting, and Labeling for Fall by Still Playing School

Corny Science: Will it sink or float? by Capri + 3

Plants We Eat {which are roots, stems, leaves, fruit} by Raising Lifelong Learners

Harvesting in the Carrot Patch by Powerful Mothering

Preschool Math: Measuring Pumpkins by Mom Inspired Life

Making Bread by Rainy Day Mum

#PlayfulPreschool Harvest Time Math by Tiny Tots Adventures

Alphabet Activities: Letter Harvest by Growing Book by Book

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves Sequencing Cards & Power Point by The Preschool Toolbox Blog

Go Global: Harvests Around the World by The Educators’ Spin On It

Harvest Time: Jamaican Style Music by Learning 2 Walk

Pumpkin Patch Sensory Bin: Practicing Matching with Preschoolers by Life Over C’s

Little Red Hen Activity – Retelling through Sensory Play by Fun-A-Day

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

9 Comments

  1. We love making bread. We will have to give your recipe a try. the stickiness of the dough is quite a sensory experience. We have some who would want to wash hands in the middle and others who would relish the stickiness!

  2. Making bread with kids is one of my most favorite things to do. I absolutely adore the sound of their giggles, the flour everywhere and the look on their face as they eat warm bread slathered in butter out of the oven.

    PS- I LOVE your cutting board!

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