Warthogs in the Kitchen; a sloppy counting book, Pamela Duncan Edwards

            What happens when warthogs cook?  A fun counting book with some messy results.


  • Bowl, measuring cups
  • Ingredients to make play Dough
  • Cupcake pan
  • Chocolate graph pictures
  • A leftover plate from your last meal, scraped well but not cleaned.
  • Cupcakes for a number chart – 5-10 per page
  • 1/2 paper plate per child


  •  Hooves (where people have hands and feet, some animals have hooves.  Hooves are hard.  Animals like horses, pigs, deer and warthogs)
  • Invisible Germs (teeny tiny little living thing that is so small you can not even see it, but it can make you sick!)

Before Reading the Book 

            Bring the scraped plate to the group.  Ask the children why they think it is important to use clean plates, cups, and utensils when they eat.  Explain that using dirty plates could make them sick.  Invisible germs hide on plates and can grow into mold and bacteria which are not healthy for people.  Tell the children that you are going to do an experiment to see if any invisible germs are on the plate.  Tape the plate up high on the wall where the children can see it but not touch it.  Leave it there for several days.  Explain that it is really important to always wash your hands and dinnerware before you eat so you do not get sick.  Explain too that it is just as important to make sure you get all the soap off because eating soap can give you diarrhea.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; builds awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.

Reading the Book

            Tell the children that today’s story is about some warthogs in the kitchen. Look at the cover; can the children guess what they are doing in the kitchen?  Introduce the book.  When you get to the page where the warthog is washing his hands, nod and tell the children that that is one smart warthog. As you turn each page, stop and point to the number on the page and say the number. As you continue to read, ask the children questions that go along with each page.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

After Reading the book

            Ask the children if they ever get to help their parent cook in the kitchen.  Pretend to make cupcakes with the children by acting out different parts of the story.  Remind them that the warthogs put pickles into their cupcakes, what else should we add?  As the children think of things respond with an enthusiastic EW! Or yummy!

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem-Solving; develops increasing ability to find more that one solution to a question, task, or problem.


            Find a play dough recipe that you like and will be able to do at school with the children.  Make play dough and then use with rolling pins and cookie cutters to make cookies.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships.

Music and Movement

            Sing This is the Way We Bake a Cake, to This is the Way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0e1_rV_oms

This is the way we bake a cake, bake a cake, bake a cake

This is the way we bake a cake so yummy for our tummy.

First we have to wash our hands, wash or hands, wash our hands

First we have to wash our hands so yummy for our tummy.

This is the way we bake a cake, bake a cake, bake a cake

This is the way we bake a cake so yummy for our tummy.

Next we have to measure the flour…

Then we have to scoop the butter…

Next we have to break the eggs…

Don’t forget to add the pickle…

Last it goes in the oven…

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

            Teach the children the Mexican chant, Chocolate.  Often children drink chocolate milk and stir it with a molinillo.  During the chorus of the chant have the children rub their hands together and pretend to stir the chocolate.  Do the chorus several times, each time faster while the children rub their hands together faster.

            Uno, dos, tres Cho!                                One, two three Cho!

            Uno, dos, tres Co!                                   One, two, three Co!

            Uno, dos, tres La!                                   One, two, three, La!

            Uno, dos, tres Te!                                   One, two, three, Te!

            Chocolate, chocolate!                           Chocolate, chocolate!

            Bate, bate, chocolate!                           Stir, stir, the chocolate!

            Bate, bate, bate, bate                            Stir, stir, stir, stir

            Bate, bate, chocolate!                           Stir, stir, chocolate!     

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increasing ability to count in sequence to 10 and beyond.                


            Ask the children to try to build a table and put all the plastic people around it for snack.  (Pretend that this person is me, this is Kerry, this is Roger, and which one will be you)?

Creative Arts/Dramatic PLay; participates in a variety of dramatic play activities that become more extended and complex. AND Physical Health & development/Fine Motor Skills;grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns , and using scissors.


        Tell the children that you are going to be making cupcakes. Show them a finished pattern without any design (see resources). Give each child a half a paper plate and have them decorate as you choose (I like puff paintand sequins).    When the paper plate is dry, help the children assemble it onto the cupcake bottom.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Make a large class cake out of varying sized boxes. See resources. (I have not tried this but it looks like it could be a fun art activity, especially if you could do the painting on the playground and assembly in the classroom once the paint was dry).

Library and Writing

            Write a letter of thanks to your school cook.  Have the children draw pictures of their favorite meal, themselves eating, or the cook. 

Literacy/Early Writing; develops an understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes.

Sand and Water

            Add some of your dramatic dishes to soapy water for dishwashing play. Do not forget the towels for drying.

Creative Arts/Dramatic PLay; participates in a variety of dramatic play activities that become more extended and complex.

Dramatic Play

            Add aprons, or use scarves as apron and pretend to do some baking.  Add measuring cups and cupcake pan.

Creative Arts/Dramatic PLay; participates in a variety of dramatic play activities that become more extended and complex.

Math and Manipulatives

            Tell the children that they are going to be making number graphs. On a large piece of paper write the numbers 1-10 down the side.  Give the children each enough pages of cupcakes to color and add the appropriate amount beside the number. Young children can work together to make, older children might enjoy making their own number graph.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numeral in meaningful ways.

Outdoor Play

            Dampen the sand or some dirt and let the children make sand/mud cakes. As they play, ask them what ingredients they put into their cake, it smells good, may I try a piece when it is finished baking?

Creative Arts/Dramatic PLay; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.


            Ask each child to come up and mark on the graph which kind of chocolate they like best.  Later you can look at the graph together and talk about what has the most responses and the least.

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from using scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use language to compare numbers of objects with terms such as more, less, greater than, fewer, and equal.


cakes for math & Manipulatives
This look like a fun group project
About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.