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Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke

"Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together."

– Guy Fieri

This is a book full of anticipation, love and comfort from cover to cover. Jay Jay visits his Grannie and they spend the afternoon together cooking and waiting for the rest of the family to arrive for Sunday dinner.

Book Chat (Beginning Reading and Writing Skills)

An incredible amount of learning happens in interacting while reading a story with your child. This is a wonderful story for teaching a multitude of skills because cooking and eating with family (no matter the size or food) is an experience we all share. Here are a few things you can do during different readings of this story to help your child develop early reading and writing skills.

  1. Each time there is a couplet, have your child repeat it in different, silly voices. Many of the couplets in this story are sounds or movements. Have your child make the sounds and movements as well. Some couplets in this story include: Kiss, kiss. Hugs and cuddles. Clink, clank. Clatter, clatter. Splash, splish. Wiggle, wiggle. Tip, tip. Struggle, juggle.

  2. Predictable text happens when there are easily predicted, repeated phrases from page to page. Help your child notice these phrases and then hold a pause each time the phrase comes up, giving your child a chance to fill in the predictable text. Retelling stories or repeating memorized texts are important skills for early reading.

After reading the story is a great time to practice a few beginning writing skills. A wonderful way to prepare children for writing is through drawing! Wonder with your child, "What is something our family does that helps you feel full, full of love?"

Work with your child to draw a picture of their loved ones doing this activity. This can include their core family, extended family, or beloved friends and pets. Then, help your child write the names of the people (and animals) in the photo. Let your child do the writing, even if they aren't creating letters yet. Whatever marks they make can stand in the place of names for them. If you'd like to keep track of who is who in the drawing, you can always write on the back later.

What are we learning?

🔹Early reading skills → Couplets, repetitive text and story participation.

🔹Early writing skills → This activity holds space for many different stages of emergent writing. If you'd like to learn more, check out the NAEYC's article on Promoting Emergent Writing.

🔹Confidence and Community → Our early experiences shape how we view reading and writing in later years. When we encourage our kiddos and give them space to create (even when it doesn't look the way we ourselves imagined it would or should) we show them that their thoughts, ideas and ways of learning are incredibly valuable and this builds their confidence.

Make A Feast Together! (Pretend and Real!)

Cooking is an activity kids love and it can be a super way to help young ones connect to the food they eat and engage their senses for valuable learning.

While reading the story, wonder together what foods the family is going to eat for dinner. Notice any foods in the illustrations and chat about the similar or different foods your family eats.

After reading, discuss what foods your explorer likes to eat with family and wonder "Can we make some of these foods?" Next, depending on if this is a real or pretend cooking session, lead your explorer to the kitchen or outside to your mud kitchen area. You can create with a simple mud kitchen anywhere outdoors that you have dirt and water and can add a few cooking utensils like pots, pans, and spoons. Next, work with your explorer to create the foods you talked about. If you're in the kitchen creating real food, this can be a continuous process where they help you with different meals or their own snacks. If you're outside in the mud kitchen, you can make as many foods together as your explorer wants to imagine. Grass, dirt, water, acorns, stones, etc. can be the ingredients!

What are we learning?

🔹Activated senses → Our brain is more engaged and can better hold information when our senses are activated and working together.

🔹Messy Play → Research says that messy play is the foundation of creative thinking! It is also a key component in developing divergent thinking and problem solving skills.

🔹Math and Science concepts → Cooking reinforces concepts like measurement, volume and capacity and gives kids a chance to observe what happens when ingredients are mixed together (and in real cooking, how they change with heat or cold.)


The family in our story gets together every Sunday for dinner. Check out our previous blog post to learn more about the power of rituals and traditions in early childhood. Then, let us know below what traditions your family enjoys together! They can be daily, weekly, or annual traditions.

Looking for more books about feasts, celebrations or traditions? We love The Greatest Table by Michael J. Rosen, Apple Cake by Dawn Casey, and Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell.

I’d love to hear which ideas sparked play and joy with your explorers or if you have any other connections for play! Comment below or tag me in your play on Instagram @magnoliaoutoor.

Resources for more information on Emergent Writing come from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).


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