I’m back and ready for a fun summer of Kaytanat Ima (Camp Mommy). The blog dropped off last summer when I was super-busy with Kaytanat Ima 2017, and it was hard to get back into it this year when I had a real (i.e. paying) job. When I was studying to be an English teacher, we were told that it’s a very mom-friendly profession. I don’t agree with many of the reasons given for this argument, but one big advantage of being a teacher is spending the summer bonding with my own kids.
For the first week of camp, I only have my two big boys home; the girls still have a few more days of school or camp. While free time and relaxing are built into the schedule, the highlights of camp this week are English hour and cooking classes. My son going into first grade is reading well enough in Hebrew that I decided he is ready to learn English. Since he has some exposure to the letters from when I taught his older siblings, this week is an intensive crash course of a few letters each day, with the goal of recognizing most of the alphabet by the end of the week.
During our first English hour (which is really about an hour and a half), we learned the letters A, D, N, H, S, and T. In addition to personalized flashcards, we used the day’s arts and crafts activity to reinforce the letters. Here is our hide-and-seek letter house:
The house is made in the style of a pop-up book. I used a plain piece of copy paper, but construction paper or poster-board would work well, too. The paper is folded in half, like a greeting card, with the same house drawn on the inner and outer flaps, paralleling each other. I then cut out the pictures, leaving them partly attached as flaps, and wrote the first letter of each word on the paper beneath. We had the letter T hiding under the tree, S hiding under the sun, D hiding under the door, N hiding under a neck, and A hiding behind an ant. This versatile craft can be adapted to include pictures of any letters you are learning.
At my son’s request, we carried the letters over to our daily cooking class. For lunch, we had drinks, hot noodles, and tomato sauce. The cooking lesson included basics like how to boil a pot of water, how to use a colander to strain pasta, the difference between potholders and oven mitts, and how to use a sharp knife to cut vegetables safely. Usually I made hidden veggie tomato sauce, but I wanted to keep it simple for the kids. I also wanted them to eat lunch and not turn up their noses because they knew there was some form of zucchini on their plates. The base of the tomato sauce was a large can of tomato paste. We added an equal amount of water, plus salt and spices, stirred until smooth, and then heated the sauce until it was bubbling. I let the kids help choose the spices, and we ended up with garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, and basil. Everyone enjoyed lunch, and it tasted even better because they were proud (like me) that they helped cook the delicious meal!
Easy, Kid-Friendly Tomato Sauce
1 large can tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1 teaspoon sugar, to cut acidity of tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon each of spices of choice (pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil, etc.)
- Empty tomato paste into a small pot. Add an equal amount of water and stir until smooth.
- Add sugar, salt and spices. Stir until evenly distributed.
- Heat until gently boiling, making sure the sauce doesn’t boil over. Serve hot.
Stay posted for more fun letter crafts and easy, kid-friendly recipes from Camp Mommy 2018!