Let’s Go On A ‘Garden Safari’! Storytime with Free Printables
We were recently given the chance to check out Garden Safari Vegetable Soup. I knew it was an opportunity I could not pass up. The benefits of cooking with kids are multifaceted. Young chefs gain fine motor experience while ripping, chopping, or stirring. There are sensory benefits as they get their hands dirty and explore the way ingredients smell, feel, and taste. Measuring components of recipes presents a perfect opportunity for applying math to the real world. The act of preparing a dish with a child opens the door for discussing healthy food choices. As an added bonus, picky eaters tend to be more willing to try something they’ve helped make. Read on to see what we thought of the book. Stay to the end to grab some extras I created to extend our Garden Safari storytime learning a bit further!
Standard Disclosure: I recieved a free copy of this book to facilitate my review. This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission from purchases you make through the links in this post (at no additional cost to you), which allows me to continue providing free content on the blog.
Reading Garden Safari Vegetable Soup
My kids loved checking out this cute book from Kitchen Club Kids. The rhyming verses from authors Eluka Moore, Larry Puzniak, and Marianne Welsh give Garden Safari Vegetable Soup a fun, sing-songy quality, perfect for reading out loud. Kristen Gau’s illustrations are cheerful, bright, and lively. The expressions on the little cooks faces are expressive and vibrant. My boys are enthusiastic fans of helping in the kitchen. They loved that the book focused on a recipe they could get involved with. As a mom who wants to help her family eat healthier, I was a huge fan of the focus on fresh, whole food ingredients. End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad is another book from the team, that I’m adding to my kiddos’ birthday lists this summer. They’re total fruit fanatics, so I know it’s going to be perfect for them!
Garden Safari Inspired Early Learning
Inspired by the colorful illustrations of vegetables in the book, I created a fun color literacy printable perfect for early learners. Kids can work on reinforcing both color knowledge and sight word recognition. Grab your free printable sheets below, and use scissors to cut each vegetable piece out.
I created 2 versions of the game pieces. One is a bit simpler, and includes some ‘hints’. The colored text will make matching a bit simpler for your youngest readers, who may not be ready to just read text. The black and white text version is a perfect challenge for slightly older readers. Color names were a big part of my oldest’s sight words lists in kindergarten, and this game is ideal for practicing them in a fun way.
Laminating is optional, but the pieces will hold up better for repeated use (over time, or for multiple kids in a classroom setting). My son used clothespins to indicate his answers. If you have laminated your veggie cards, using dry erase markers to indicate answers would work well and erase easily to use again.
i Spy Bottle- Garden Safari Sensory Fun!
Since he was young, #thebigone has enjoyed sensory exploration. ‘I Spy’ bags, bottles, and jars have been some of my favorite ways to introduce sensory games to him. ‘I Spy’ is great because the hunt is super engaging, and most kids can explore it independently. Games like this are ideal for days when I need a little quiet time. As a bonus, now that #thebigone is much older, he gets to help set the games up for his little brother. (Less work for mom is a win-win!)
I involved the kids in shopping for the supplies for our bottle. We used the printable you can grab below as a shopping list, and enjoyed a sort of scavenger hunt as we picked beads to represent the veggies in Garden Safari Vegetable Soup. We used a combination of glass, wood, and plastic beads for ours, but materials are flexible. Brown rice is a perfect filler for the jar- inexpensive, easily obtained, and aligned with the theme. To fit with the cooking theme, we used a plastic food storage container as the vessel. Super glue (or hot glue) helped to be sure the top stayed securely in place.
Toddlers and younger kids may enjoy exploring the bottle without the printed list- sometimes open ended discovery is best at this age. Older kids may like to read their lists independently, or see who can check every ingredient off the list fastest. Regardless of exactly how they utilize the I Spy Bottle, young chefs are sure to enjoy the opportunity to explore!
If you have some mini foodies or asiring chefs in your home, be sure to check out the awesome products available from Kitchen Club Kids. Take a peek through their site and choose some of the kid friendly recipes and fun to try with your little sous chefs! And don’t forget the printables below so you can maximize your family’s Garden Safari Vegetable Soup story time learning!