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Talking about Making Dough

In Bunny Cakes, Max and Ruby make a cake for Grandma's birthday. Use the children's story to introduce baking. Then, make dough as a class. This School Readiness Activity provides early language thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
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Talking about Making Dough

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary WellsPurpose/Skills
  • To talk about steps in a process
  • To connect language and math/science
  • To use language precisely
  • To build vocabulary

Ingredients for modeling dough: flour (2 cups), water (1/2 cup), salt (3/4 cup), salad oil (1 T), mixing bowl, measuring spoons, and measuring cups

watersalad oil
measuring cup    measuring spoon

Literature Suggestion
Read Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells, Bruno the Baker by Lars Klinting, or any book that includes a recipe or cooking.

Read the book, pointing out the ingredients.


  • Have the children gather around a large table or work in small groups.
  • Talk about the ingredients you need to make modeling dough: flour, water, salad oil, and salt.
  • Talk about measuring. Explain that you use the measuring cup and measuring spoons to know how much water, flour, and salt to put in. As you make the dough, use words such as first, second, next.
  • Have the children help measure ingredients and pour them in the bowl.
  • Pass the bowl around and have the children mix the dough with their hands. While they are mixing, ask them to describe the dough.
  • Tip: If the dough is too wet and sticky, add a little flour; if it is too hard and flaky, add a little water.
  • Encourage children to talk throughout the process of making the dough. Help them to use new vocabulary and share their opinions and ideas.
  • Help children make shapes from the dough.
  • Finally, review the process by asking questions: How much water did we add? How did the dough look before we mixed it?
  • Help the children recall the ingredients in the dough.
  • Talk about the dough-making sequence: What did we do first? And then? After that?
  • Have the children describe what they made with their dough.
  • Start a picture experience chart.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child is able to talk about making dough, and asks questions using new vocabulary.
  • In Process - Child names ingredients or offers simple observations about the process, without using new words.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child names one or two ingredients, but does not yet talk about the process.

Excerpted from

School Readiness Activity Cards
Pearson Early Childhood
Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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