That's why I must give a lot of credit to Sylvia Lantz and Lynette Harrison, my kindergarten teachers at McKinley Elementary all those years ago. Those ladies were a part of my life long after that year; Mrs. Harrison was even a part of the Redlands High School theatre program, during which I learned that she and Mrs. Lantz are just regular people. It's hard to remember that about teachers sometimes.
A way that I revisit those fond memories about Kindergarten is through my Kindergarten Cookbook. Each child in my class was asked to write a recipe and draw a picture of their favorite food. Those two smart ladies would copy the child's instructions verbatim, which resulted in some cockamamie recipes. The craziest instructions are always the best. Every kid got a copy of the cookbook, and I bet that my mom still has mine somewhere in her bookshelf.
If you don't have a kindergarten class to crowd source, I have a modification that you can do with your kids this summer.
The Kid Cookbook
1. Draw a line in the center of each recipe page: Explain to your child that the bottom of the paper is for them to draw their favorite foods. Provide whatever art materials you would like; I chose crayons because Jack is in the phase of making colored pencils screech against the table. Yikes.
2. Guide your child to make recipes for their favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert: Without a bunch of kids to accommodate, your kid can add as many recipes to the cookbook as he would like. Jacko found it easier to understand his task when I broke down the recipes by meal.
3. Write the child's recipe down verbatim: A majority of the fun of these cookbooks is seeing how kids perceive that their favorite foods are made. Use a dark pen to write exactly what the child's instructions are; do not correct their ludicrous cooking times or less-than-accurate ingredients. Prod a child who is stuck by asking questions like, "Do we need to cook this in the oven or on the stove" or "What kind of utensil do we use to eat this?"
4. Gather the recipes together and bind them: If you have your own home binding system, then I needn't tell you how to poke the holes and thread the binding. For those who do not own one of those, a great option is to take your cookbook and its cover to a local copy store; they can cheaply and quickly put the cookbook together for you. Another option for larger cookbooks is to use bookbinding techniques, such as the chain or coptic stitch found here.
Some "I wish I would have done that" tips I have:
- Give yourself some room on the top and left edges to allow for the bookbinding. In my photos, you can see the text is smooshed and therefore makes binding it tough.
- Have a party with your kids' friends and add more recipes to the cookbook.
- For home bookbinding, use cereal boxes as the cookbook cover. We eat enough sugary cereals that our boxes are always bright and colorful!
- Choose the most doable recipe and make it exactly as stated for a fun family activity—the parents will think it's funny and the kids will love making their own recipe!