Monday, November 21, 2011

A Recipe for Learning: Soup Day by Melissa Iwai

One thing that I love to do this time of year is to make a nice, huge pot of soup.  The way the whole house fills with fabulous aromas as the pot simmers is just one of the coziest and comforting feelings I know. 

When I stumbled on Soup Day (Christy Ottaviano Books)by Melissa Iwai at the library, with it's cute and colorful cover page, I kinda got excited to read this book with baby bookworm.  It's a story of a little girl's soup day ritual with her mother - from going to the market to select the best ingredients, to chopping them up into smaller pieces, to hearing the pot sizzle as the oil is poured in, to spending time playing with her mom as they wait for the flavors to develop, to getting to devour the soup that they worked so hard to make. 

This book gives me the same cozy feeling as my soup day (without all the hard work), and what I love the best about this book is that Iwai's invented mother-daughter soup ritual took me back to my childhood and reminded me of the excitement I experienced with my mother when we did something special together. 

At the end of the book there is a recipe for making your very own pot of veggie soup - and I was happy to see that it wasn't too different from mine!

Baby bookworm became instantaneously hooked on this book like I did.  In addition to it just being an all around cute and cuddly book, it also provides a great opportunity to review colors, shapes, and the names of various objects (particularly, the names of vegetables, of course!).  I thought it would be fun to reenact this book, but since baby bookworm is only 23 months, I didn't really feel like dealing with knives and ovens and hot vegetable stock and sizzling oil.  So we did a learning-craft version of this book instead...

Here's what we did:

1) With construction paper I assembeled our ingredients: mushrooms, zucchini, potatoes, parsley, carrots, onions, and celery. 

2) Then I got an empty pickle jar that I had saved and washed; we used this as our "pot". 

3) As we read the book, we followed their "recipe" step by step for making veggie soup.

Baby bookworm telling me what to put into the pot!
4) We counted the number of pieces of each ingredient that we added to our pot

5) I wrote up our version of veggie soup on a little index card

Baby bookworm had a blast with this activity and we pretty much "played" it every day for a week!  Give it a try yourself - it's a great, easy, toddler-friendly way to follow directions, learn new vocabulary, practice counting, shapes, colors, and it also builds language through pretend play!



  1. This book looks so great! I also love the learning activity you did at the end! What a great idea. It reminds me of what my kindergarten teacher did with us when we read Stone Soup back in the day.

  2. Adorable! I love activities like this that work on building vocabulary and practicing sequencing... and still are a lot of fun!! I haven't read this book yet and will need to add it to my list.

    Just pinned this post. Thanks for sharing!


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