The Pantry Cupboard: Before & After
Themes and Plans for November

Food for Thought: Alphabet Soup!

It's raining cats and dogs here today, and it's downright chilly too. Just the perfect kind of day to make soup - alphabet soup, so to speak!

Actually, this is an early learning activity I remembered from a few years ago. The boys and I played it today with Earlybird who is just learning to recognize and pronounce his name. I believe the idea originally came from an old issue of Nick Jr. Magazine.

Here is the set up:


In the background is a small (play) soup pot. Just in front of that are manila tagboard name cards. Of course, when we play, we use our real names. ;)

In the foreground are more brightly colored tagboard flash cards. On these I've written the alphabet, in both upper and lower case. I cut the letters into individual pieces, and placed them in the pot.


How it works is very simple. When it's your turn, you draw a letter and if it matches a letter in your name, you keep it. If it does not, it goes back in the pot which gets a good stir and the game continues.

(Now, how we actually played this today was, when someone drew a letter he looked to see if it matched any one of our names. If it did, it got placed down in front of that spot. If it did not - instead of going back in the pot, it became the property of Earlybird. He became keeper of the "unusable" letters, lol.)

The game is over when either A. everyone's name has been spelled or B. Earlybird decides he's sat still long enough. We're working on that attention span thing! ;)

We're also hoping simple games like this will help EB practice turn-taking, a skill that will be helpful as he begins a weekly social skills group next month. (This will be an extension of his current speech therapy, but in a group setting with other young children with spectrum disorders).

Now, as a fun, follow-up activity later this week I will have Earlybird help me prepare a homemade (edible!) alphabet soup. We will visit the farmstand for fresh vegetables. We will stop at the grocery store to buy ground meat for the meatballs, alphabet-shaped pasta and good stock for the base. (We'll keep an eye peeled for the letter A while we're at it - his OM letter of the week.) Then we'll bring our "harvest" home and cook up a big ole pot of alphabet soup. (I may follow this recipe, or I may just wing it!)

Helping mama in the kitchen will be a big new step for Earlybird this year, and I think kicking it off by making a special "September" soup, rich with veggies and letters will be fun. He'll have produce to wash and peels to compost, and maybe even, with mama's help, a pot to stir once or twice.

Homemade soup is so delicious and comforting, and it's a great child-friendly meal - to make and to eat. Especially when you consider this quote:

"Only the pure of heart can make soup." (Beethoven)

I love this quote! I have no idea why Beethoven said it, but we obviously must play some of his music while we cook. :)